LIGO's twin black holes might have been born inside a single star

February 23, 2016
On Sept. 14, 2015, LIGO detected gravitational waves from two merging black holes, shown here in this artist's conception. The Fermi space telescope detected a burst of gamma rays 0.4 seconds later. New research suggests that the burst occurred because the two black holes lived and died inside a single, massive star. Credit: Swinburne Astronomy Productions

On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes 29 and 36 times the mass of the Sun. Such an event is expected to be dark, but the Fermi Space Telescope detected a gamma-ray burst just a fraction of a second after LIGO's signal. New research suggests that the two black holes might have resided inside a single, massive star whose death generated the gamma-ray burst.

"It's the cosmic equivalent of a pregnant woman carrying twins inside her belly," says Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

Normally, when a massive star reaches the end of its life, its core collapses into a single black hole. But if the star was spinning very rapidly, its core might stretch into a dumbbell shape and fragment into two clumps, each forming its own black hole.

A very massive star as needed here often forms out of the merger of two smaller stars. And since the stars would have revolved around each other faster and faster as they spiraled together, the resulting merged star would be expected to spin very quickly.

After the black hole pair formed, the star's outer envelope rushed inward toward them. In order to power both the gravitational wave event and the , the twin must have been born close together, with an initial separation of order the size of the Earth, and merged within minutes. The newly formed single black hole then fed on the infalling matter, consuming up to a Sun's worth of material every second and powering jets of matter that blasted outward to create the burst.

Fermi detected the burst just 0.4 seconds after LIGO detected gravitational waves, and from the same general area of the sky. However, the European INTEGRAL gamma-ray satellite did not confirm the signal.

"Even if the Fermi detection is a false alarm, future LIGO events should be monitored for accompanying light irrespective of whether they originate from black hole mergers. Nature can always surprise us," says Loeb.

If more gamma-ray bursts are detected from gravitational wave events, they will offer a promising new method of measuring cosmic distances and the expansion of the universe. By spotting the afterglow of a gamma-ray burst and measuring its redshift, then comparing it to the independent distance measurement from LIGO, astronomers can precisely constrain the cosmological parameters. "Astrophysical black holes are much simpler than other distance indicators, such as supernovae, since they are fully defined just by their mass and spin," says Loeb.

"This is an agenda-setting paper that will likely stimulate vigorous follow-up work, in the crucial period after the initial LIGO discovery, where the challenge is to fathom its full implications. If history is any guide, the 'multi-messenger' approach advocated by Loeb, using both and electromagnetic radiation, again promises deeper insight into the physical nature of the remarkable LIGO source," says Volker Bromm of the University of Texas at Austin, commenting independently.

This research has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters and is available online.

Explore further: In-depth Q&A: Three researchers on the front line of today's gravitational wave discovery

More information: Electromagnetic Counterparts to Black Hole Mergers Detected by LIGO, arxiv.org/abs/1602.04735

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Bigbangcon
1.5 / 5 (15) Feb 23, 2016

"New research suggests that the burst occurred because the two black holes lived and died inside a single, massive star."

In plain word this is an escape clause. Twin "Black Holes" born inside one mother star is a highly unlikely event in the life-time of the universe. So, if there are no more gravitational waves detected; we can proudly proclaim that we caught the only unique event of the universe; born only once in the eternal history of time - through the Big Bang! Marvelous! And if gamma rays (not expected) came from the same event, then it only heightens the magic of the "Black Holes" both in our heads and far out in the cosmos!

Astronoom
1.9 / 5 (17) Feb 23, 2016
What drugs do they use, it seems they tell each artikel/story more and more crazy stuf, just too keep the SF alive.
Yes its Sf, it has nothing to do with real science anymore, real scientist keep them on the facts, and don't start using Sf as real sciene!!
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (12) Feb 23, 2016
World renown astrophysicist-Skippy from Harvard-Smithsonian? Or some world renown couyon-Skippy from the physorg comment pages? Hmmmm, it's a tough one. Well I have read two different books by the Loeb-Skippy at the Harvard-Smithsonian, so I think I will go with him on this one.

Seriously, my foolishments aside,,,,, Leob-Skippy writes some good books and if you get a chance you should read one of them. His real specialty that I read a book on is the super massive first stars forming right after the CMB clearing period about 14 or 13 billions of years ago.
Uncle Ira
3.9 / 5 (11) Feb 23, 2016
P.S. for everybody. I thought I had the book with me and I did. It's called "How Did The First Stars And Galaxies Form?" by Abraham (Avi) Loeb. The book is easy to read and understand (mostly easy to understand but there are a few places that were tricky for me). It comes from the Princeton University Press but I bought him off of Amazon. For about $15 or $14 on sale I think.
antigoracle
1.7 / 5 (12) Feb 23, 2016
I had actually started to believe that LIGO did detect gravitational waves, until this preposterous conjecture of an explanation. This is not science.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (5) Feb 23, 2016
Notice the title says "Might have..."
Ahhh..We live in a Universe of Infinite Possibility...:-)
Nothing wrong with a little imaginative meandering occasionally...
This ain't a Science site. It's a place for collation of science news to be read by those of us who might not so esoterically educated - or would be totally bored looking at a bunch of numbers....
TehDog
5 / 5 (10) Feb 23, 2016
anti,
"I had actually started to believe that LIGO did detect gravitational waves, until this preposterous conjecture of an explanation. This is not science."

"preposterous conjecture of an explanation..."
Of why a GRB observed in the same region of sky as the observed LIGO event is maybe connected to said event.
"This is not science"
Of course it is,
"A conjecture takes the form:
We have good grounds to accept that such-and-such is the case though it may not be. Let's accept that it is and build other ideas on top of it."

http://www.furrye...othesis/

Which translates to "Let's explore this idea until it finds a solid foundation, or collapses like a house of cards"
chaman
1 / 5 (2) Feb 24, 2016
So, black hole(s) can exist INSIDE a star. This is news, isn't?... and the rest of the story pure conjecture...right?
shavera
5 / 5 (6) Feb 24, 2016
No, they're not saying a black hole existed "inside" the star. They're saying that *maybe* when the star collapsed, it was spinning so fast, it acted as if it had two cores, and each core collapsed into its own black hole.

Although, just for fun, I did a back of the envelope calculation. Imagine there was a black hole in the core of our sun. Neglecting accretion effects, let's say it must be in thermal equilibrium with the solar core in order to "survive." Such a black hole would need to be 10^-14 the mass of the sun, with a radius of 10^-11 m, smaller than an atom. For yet hotter cores, the radius scales inversely with temperature (meaning a core 10 times hotter corresponds to a black hole 10 times smaller). Not saying such a thing exists, just that these are fun maths problems to think about.
bschott
2.1 / 5 (11) Feb 24, 2016
It's funny when rational people comment and the faithful feel the need to defend the fantasy. I remember arguing about Santa when i was a child....
looking4sophia
1 / 5 (2) Feb 24, 2016
Quote from Article above :
" After the black hole pair formed, the star's outer envelope rushed inward toward them. In order to power both the gravitational wave event and the gamma-ray burst, the twin black holes must have been born close together, with an initial separation of order the size of the Earth, and merged within minutes.
The newly formed single black hole then fed on the infalling matter, consuming up to a Sun's worth of material every second and powering jets of matter that blasted outward to create the burst.""

Seems to me the 2 Black Holes would Merge as a fast spinning 'Dumbell'
with a very dynamic surface of convex and concave shapes.

This metastable Dumbell shape would form into a single Sphere, in a matter of minutes apparently.

But what would be the dynamics of this complex surface be during those minutes?

Would there be gigantic Standing Waves of Mass reverberating from the surface of the newly formed singular Black Hole ?

antigoracle
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 24, 2016
"Nature can always surprise us," says Loeb.

Even more so, what passes for science.
OdinsAcolyte
1 / 5 (6) Feb 24, 2016
Gravity waves move faster than gamma rays?
FTL travel is implicated.
Hopping from crest to crest or trough to trough of the Gravity Waves.
Confounding time for both travelers and their sponsors.
To travel at those speeds is also to travel through time.
Wish we had learned this sooner. It would have been such an adventure to be a Sailor on the Sea of Stars.
Uncle Ira
4.3 / 5 (11) Feb 24, 2016
Gravity waves move faster than gamma rays?
FTL travel is implicated..

Not really. The article says a fraction of a second before, that is the fraction of a second where the merger preceded the making of the gamma rays.
looking4sophia
5 / 5 (2) Feb 25, 2016
Quote from Article above :
" After the black hole pair formed, the star's outer envelope rushed inward toward them."

or depending on Timing this event could have been the EnvelopeS of 2 Large Stars
collapsing into 2 Merging Black Holes simultaneously .

The Gravity Waves being detected less than a second Before the GRB
may give a clue that the 2 BHs merged very quickly due to their combined GRAVITY Field.

Then the fuel rich Envelopes were Compressed and Heated into a SuperNova like explosion creating the GRB.

A Large portion of this GRB might have occured Inside the Event Horizon, imo.
Thus weakening the strength of the GRB detected here back on Earth.
SHREEKANT
1 / 5 (5) Feb 25, 2016
"New research suggests that the two black holes might have resided inside a single, massive star whose death generated the gamma-ray burst."

2nd OPINION: I think we are confused again. What is black hole? What is Galactic core? How they are related?

The two black hole are sub-holes seen only in the particular phase of larger Galactic core – periodically. They are created by …. [at least NOT FROM SINGLE BLACK HOLE – as claimed in this paper].

So, in my view BLACK HOLE is the combined effect of these two.

The two INFANT BLACK can MERGE but two JUVENILE or MATURE Black hole NOT. It happen only when the plane of two different galaxies are in particular position – which is rare.

Here I also want to point out that Black hole does not means that there is nothing [hollow passage] in the middle of it.

Here in this case 'there is NO DEATH of MASSIVE STARS...

Ref.

http://swarajgrou...een.html
dnrussellms
1 / 5 (4) Feb 26, 2016

The many ripples in this picture of mathematical model of gravity waves do not match the single gravitational wave of duration 0.2 seconds that was reported by LIGO.
Has LIGO really detected gravity waves? Do gravity waves really travel at the speed of light?
Is it reasonable to think that God is limited in His activities by the speed of light?
Please, read my article at: cosmology.com/GravityWaves1.html
Here, I introduce a new model of cosmology with a mathematical argument that gravity waves do not travel through space, but instead gravitational waves change the curvature of all 4 dimensions of spacetime at once! This is possible without violating general relativity!
In my article I also propose astrophysics experiment that will verify speed of gravity waves, directly. If confirmed experimentally, then gravitational waves are instantly known everywhere in the Universe, instantly, as they are created! --Daniel Russell, physics consultant
Whydening Gyre
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2016

The many ripples in this picture of mathematical model of gravity waves do not match the single gravitational wave of duration 0.2 seconds that was reported by LIGO.
Has LIGO really detected gravity waves? Do gravity waves really travel at the speed of light?
...Here, I introduce a new model of cosmology with a mathematical argument that gravity waves do not travel through space, but instead gravitational waves change the curvature of all 4 dimensions of spacetime at once! This is possible without violating general relativity!
In my article I also propose astrophysics experiment that will verify speed of gravity waves, directly. If confirmed experimentally, then gravitational waves are instantly known everywhere in the Universe, instantly, as they are created! --Daniel Russell, physics consultant

Well then, Dan Russell (physics consultant) why did it take 6 million years (or however many lightyears away it was) to get here?
BTW - I see we are Penn State...:-)
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2016
Ahh... my bad. You are not THAT Dan Russell...
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 26, 2016
The many ripples in this picture ...do not match... LIGO
--Daniel Russell, physics consultant
uhmmm...
does anyone else see a problem with that post??
i mean... the picture doesn't match LIGO?

better question: does the following study ( http://arxiv.org/...02.04735 ) and the mathematical models therein match the LIGO information?

this is PO... and the PIC might not accurately represent data from a complex model... it is well known that PO (and everyone else) will also include artist interpretations of something as a graphical addition used for selling the data contained therein

so it isn't about "this picture of mathematical model of gravity waves" ... the better post from a "physics consultant" would either demonstrate how the models in the STUDY don't match the LIGO or how they SUPPORT LIGO

Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2016
The many ripples in this picture ...do not match... LIGO
--Daniel Russell, physics consultant
uhmmm...
does anyone else see a problem with that post??
i mean... the picture doesn't match LIGO?
...
so it isn't about "this picture of mathematical model of gravity waves" ... the better post from a "physics consultant" would either demonstrate how the models in the STUDY don't match the LIGO or how they SUPPORT LIGO

Read his blurb on his ink. Seems more sciency sounding supposition than anything else...
or should that be "suppository"?
dnrussellms
1 / 5 (1) Feb 27, 2016
To Whydening Gyre: You ask, "Why did it take 6 million years (or however many lightyears away it was) to get here?"
The LIGO team reported that the binary black hole source was about 1 billion light years away. If you will please read my article at: www cosmology.com/GravityWaves1.html it is explained why I believe that LIGO detected a burst of electromagnetic radiation that was red-shifted by the black holes enough to interact with the LIGO system. It is explained in my Conclusion that if my proposed experiment shows that gravity waves instantly re-define the curvature of all 4 dimensions of spacetime, then the gravity waves from that event may have arrived at Earth a billion years ago, when the event actually happened. That is assuming that it was really that binary system that was the true source.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2016
The LIGO team reported that the binary black hole source was about 1 billion light years away. If you will please read my article at: www cosmology.com/GravityWaves1.html it is explained why I believe that LIGO detected a burst of electromagnetic radiation that was red-shifted by the black holes enough to interact with the LIGO system. It is explained in my Conclusion that if my proposed experiment shows that gravity waves instantly re-define the curvature of all 4 dimensions of spacetime, then the gravity waves from that event may have arrived at Earth a billion years ago, when the event actually happened. That is assuming that it was really that binary system that was the true source.

Are you are then saying that it must have been some OTHER event occurred at exactly the same time as the waves reaching LIGO?
BTW, I'm not so sure LIGO is in anyway sensitive enough to "Redshifted EM" . It is a very specifically tuned device.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (4) Feb 28, 2016
LIGO's twin black holes might have been born inside a single star

LIGO's twin BH's were born the only place possible, inside the fanciful minds of unicorn believing astrophysicists. There is a much simpler explanation for the detection of "GW waves", and it involves real phenomena, not scarwy monsters and leprechauns...Where's the skepticism in cosmology? It's like a pep rally for pseudoscientific metaphysical Einstein acolytes.

https://www.youtu...GbnJykPo

looking4sophia
not rated yet Mar 01, 2016
To simplify the math, lets assume these twin stars are equal in Mass

then the center point between these 2 Masses would have a net Gravity of Zero
making it the most likely location to trap an eddy of fast moving unicorns, imo ..
OdinsAcolyte
not rated yet Mar 01, 2016
Gravity waves move faster than gamma rays?
FTL travel is implicated..

Not really. The article says a fraction of a second before, that is the fraction of a second where the merger preceded the making of the gamma rays.

oh. Good rational thinking. I was hoping to skate the gwaves and hop the distorted space/ time. Sure hate to have to tear a hole in the fabric of the universe just to bypass some time and distance. Makes the trip to other stars so loooooonnng and no telling what we would let in. Probably just open a door to the universe next door and still be stuck with a long trip.

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