Researchers studying the effects of the impact of giant black holes confirmed the gravitational phenomenon that Albert Einstein predicted a century ago.
According to a new study published in Nature magazine, the phenomenon known as precession is similar to the oscillating movement that is sometimes observed in black holes when they merge into one. When two massive objects come closer, they cause a huge ripple in the fabric of space-time known as gravitational waves that spread through space, drawing energy and the corner moment from the merging black holes.
For the first time, scientists discovered these waves from black holes in 2020 with the laser interferometric gravitational wave observatory in the United States and the virgo gravitational wave sensors in Italy. Now, after several years of study of wave models, researchers have confirmed that one of the black holes was spinning at a record rate of 10 billion faster than ever before.
The researchers observed a precession at all stages, but not in large objects such as the binary systems of black holes, where two "space vacuums" revolve around a common center, but the general theory of Einstein's relativity over 100 years ago predicted that the precession should take place in large objects such as the binary black holes.
"We always thought that binary black holes could do this," noted the research author Mark Hannam, director of the Institute of Gravity Studies at Cardiff University in Great Britain, in his statement. "We had hoped to find such an example since the first gravitational waves were discovered. We had to wait five years and do more than 80 studies."
The black holes in question are many times more massive than the Sun, with a large amount estimated at about 40 solar masses. Researchers first learned of the binary pair in 2020, when LIGO and Virgo recorded the explosion of gravity waves released by the alleged impact of two black holes. The team called this collision GW200129, on the date of its discovery.
For example, in May 2022, a group of researchers estimated that the merger of two black holes was both massive and one-sided: the gravitational waves broke out of a collision in the same direction, while the newly merged black hole was probably "dumped" from its home galaxy at a speed of more than 4.8 million km/h in the opposite direction.