It wasn’t very long ago that black holes were considered merely theoretical — Einstein predicted the existence of black holes, but the first one was not discovered until 1971. Now with LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) three massive black hole collisions have been measured to date, the most recent, a merger of “a pair of mammoth black holes resulting in a pit of infinitely deep darkness weighing as much as 49 suns” — the science of black holes is in full swing…



From The New York Times,


Third Gravitational Wave Detection, From Black-Hole Merger 3 Billion Light Years Away



“The void is rocking and rolling with invisible cataclysms.


Astronomers said Thursday that they had felt space-time vibrations known as gravitational waves from the merger of a pair of mammoth black holes resulting in a pit of infinitely deep darkness weighing as much as 49 suns, some 3 billion light-years from here.
This is the third black-hole smashup that astronomers have detected since they started keeping watch on the cosmos back in September 2015, with LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. All of them are more massive than the black holes that astronomers had previously identified as the remnants of dead stars.
In less than two short years, the observatory has wrought twin revolutions. It validated Einstein’s longstanding prediction that space-time can shake like a bowlful of jelly when massive objects swing their weight around, and it has put astronomers on intimate terms with the most extreme objects in his cosmic zoo and the ones so far doing the shaking: massive black holes.

“We are moving in a substantial way away from novelty towards where we can seriously say we are developing black-hole astronomy,” said David Shoemaker, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spokesman for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, an international network of about 1,000 astronomers and physicists who use the LIGO data….”


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