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Seeds of Black Holes Could be Revealed by Gravitational Waves

Jun 29, 2016 07:58 AM EDT

Gravitational waves were first detected hundreds of years ago, and today it is out there to provide answers to significant questions posed by scientists and astronomers.

A recent study suggests that the seeds of black holes can be discovered and observed through the use of gravitational waves caused by colliding black holes.

Scientists from Durham University's Institute for Computational Cosmology performed a study and ran a cosmological simulation that can predict which rate gravitational waves due to collisions between monster black holes might be detected.

According to the study presented at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting on last June 27, the amplitude and frequency of the gravitational waves can potentially reveal the mass of seeds where monster black holes came from, from the time they were formed 13 billions years ago. This study will provide knowledge about the formation of black holes that scientists know today.

The EAGLE project that aims to mimic the universe from a computer was used and was combined with a model that is capable of calculation gravitational wave signals. The study suggests that it is possible to detect gravitational waves caused by collisions of supermassive black holes each year using innovative space-based equipment such as the Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA) detector; an instrument set to launch in 2034. The potential detections by eLISA will greatly help the researchers in identifying the mechanisms involved in the formation of supermassive black holes, according to a report.

"Understanding more about gravitational waves means that we can study the Universe in an entirely different way," lead author Jaime Salcido, said in a statement. "By combining the detection of gravitational waves with simulations we could ultimately work out when and how the first seeds of supermassive black holes formed," Salcido added.

Gravitational waves were detected using LIGO and VIRGO for the first time followed by a second detection this month.  The instruments capable of detecting gravitational waves are integral to the success of measure black hole seeds. The authors said black holes are fundamental to galaxy formation and are visible in the Milky Way galaxy. 

"Discovering how they came to be where they are is one of the unsolved problems of cosmology and astronomy," co-author Professor Richard Bower said in a statement published by Daily Mail. "Our research has shown how space based detectors will provide new insights into the nature of supermassive black holes," Bower added.

With the help of future innovative technology, scientists can further explain the behavior, formation and composition of supermassive black holes through reading and detection of gravitational waves. These gravitational waves were first recognized 100 years ago by Albert Einstein.


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