Quasar PSO J334.2028+01.4075 has a very healthy heart rate of 6.7 beats per decade, or once every 542 days. One explanation is that this guy hosts a pair of supermassive black holes. If true, then the astonishing interpretation of this quasar’s heart rate is that its black holes are only a few orbits away from merging!
The space between galaxies, long thought to be a near empty void, is now rapidly being revealed to be home to a host of astronomical phenomena. Now astronomers may have added a new type of intergalactic resident to the list: a super-massive black hole, a million times the mass of the Sun, kicked out from its home galaxy.
In the next few years, gravitational wave detectors are expected to start finding mergers of compact objects. But their resolution is limited to large areas of the sky. Fast galaxy surveys are needed to aid in the task of locating the source more precisely, but how fast can they go?
How quickly will Advanced LIGO/Virgo be able to detect a gravitational wave, and how precisely will they be able to tell their partner electromagnetic telescopes where to point? Today’s authors answer these questions for the most promising and best-understood type of system, binary neutron star mergers. Specifically, they take a realistic look at LIGO/Virgo’s first two online years, including their early sensitivity and expected downtime.
Gravitational waves passing through our solar system make the Sun ring like a bell. Can their effect be measured to learn about the violent phenomena that caused them?
Imagine a spinning skater. She pulls her arms in a little and spins faster. She brings her arms all the way into her chest, and spins really fast, and then bam! she rockets up into the sky. Seven years ago, computer simulations revealed a configuration of two spinning black holes that merged in this way, jumping out of their orbital plane with a velocity of several thousand km/s. Not only is this weird, it’s also important. We know that large galaxies host supermassive black holes at their centers. We also know that galaxies merge, presumably introducing their black holes to one another. If the newly formed black hole were to exit the galaxy entirely, it could carry its accretion disk with it, and be observable as a displaced core.