INTEGRAL sets limits on gamma rays from merging black holes

March 30, 2016
Artist's impression of two black holes as they spiral towards each other before merging, releasing gravitational waves – fluctuations in the fabric of spacetime. Credit: ESA–C.Carreau

Following the discovery of gravitational waves from the merging of two black holes, ESA's INTEGRAL satellite has revealed no simultaneous gamma rays, just as models predict.

On 14 September, the terrestrial Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves – fluctuations in the fabric of spacetime – produced by a pair of black holes as they spiralled towards each other before merging. The signal lasted less than half a second.

The discovery was the first direct observation of gravitational waves, predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago.

Two days after the detection, the LIGO team alerted a number of ground- and space-based astronomical facilities to look for a possible counterpart to the source of gravitational waves. The nature of the source was unclear at the time, and it was hoped that follow-up observations across the electromagnetic spectrum might provide valuable information about the culprit.

Gravitational waves are released when massive bodies are accelerated, and strong emission should occur when dense stellar remnants such as neutron stars or black holes spiral towards each other before coalescing.

Models predict that the merging of two stellar-mass black holes would not produce light at any wavelength, but if one or two neutron stars were involved in the process, then a characteristic signature should be observable across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Another possible source of gravitational waves would be an asymmetric supernova explosion, also known to emit light over a range of wavelengths.

It was not possible to pinpoint the LIGO source – its position could only be narrowed down to a very long strip across the sky.

Observatories searched their archives in case data had been serendipitously collected anywhere along this strip around the time of the . They were also asked to point their telescopes to the same region in search for any possible 'afterglow' emission.

INTEGRAL is sensitive to transient sources of high-energy emission over the whole sky, and thus a team of scientists searched through its data, seeking signs of a sudden burst of hard X-rays or that might have been recorded at the same time as the gravitational waves were detected.

"We searched through all the available INTEGRAL data, but did not find any indication of high-energy emission associated with the LIGO detection," says Volodymyr Savchenko of the François Arago Centre in Paris, France. Volodymyr is the lead author of a paper reporting the results, published today in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The team analysed data from the Anti-Coincidence Shield on INTEGRAL's SPI instrument. The shield helps to screen out radiation and particles coming from directions other than that where the instrument is pointing, as well as to detect transient high-energy sources across the whole sky.

The team also looked at data from INTEGRAL's IBIS instrument, although at the time it was not pointing at the strip where the source of gravitational waves was thought to be located.

"The source detected by LIGO released a huge amount of energy in gravitational waves, and the limits set by the INTEGRAL data on a possible simultaneous emission of gamma rays are one million times lower than that," says co-author Carlo Ferrigno from the INTEGRAL Science Data Centre at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Subsequent analysis of the LIGO data has shown that the gravitational waves were produced by a pair of coalescing black holes, each with a mass roughly 30 times that of our Sun, located about 1.3 billion light years away. Scientists do not expect to see any significant emission of light at any wavelength from such events, and thus INTEGRAL's null detection is consistent with this scenario.

Similarly, nothing was seen by the great majority of the other astronomical facilities making observations from radio and infrared to optical and X-ray wavelengths.

The only exception was the Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor on NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, which observed what appears to be a sudden burst of gamma rays about 0.4 seconds after the gravitational waves were detected. The burst lasted about one second and came from a region of the sky that overlaps with the strip identified by LIGO.

This detection sparked a bounty of theoretical investigations, proposing possible scenarios in which two merging black holes of stellar mass could indeed have released gamma rays along with the gravitational waves.

However, if this gamma-ray flare had had a cosmic origin, either linked to the LIGO gravitational wave source or to any other astrophysical phenomenon in the Universe, it should have been detected by INTEGRAL as well. The absence of any such detection by both instruments on INTEGRAL suggests that the measurement from Fermi could be unrelated to the gravitational wave detection.

"This result highlights the importance of synergies between scientists and observing facilities worldwide in the quest for as many cosmic messengers as possible, from the recently-detected gravitational waves to particles and light across the spectrum," says Erik Kuulkers, INTEGRAL Project Scientist at ESA.

This will become even more important when it becomes possible to observe gravitational waves from space. This has been identified as the goal for the L3 mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision programme, and the technology for building it is currently being tested in space by ESA's LISA Pathfinder mission.

Such an observatory will be capable of detecting from the merging of supermassive in the centres of galaxies for months prior to the final coalescence, making it possible to locate the source much more accurately and thus provide astronomical observatories with a place and a time to look out for associated electromagnetic emission.

"We are looking forward to further collaborations and discoveries in the newly-inaugurated era of gravitational astronomy," concludes Erik.

Explore further: Continuing the search for gravitational waves

More information: V. Savchenko et al. UPPER LIMITS ON GAMMA-RAY EMISSION ASSOCIATED WITH THE GRAVITATIONAL WAVE EVENT GW150914 , The Astrophysical Journal (2016). DOI: 10.3847/2041-8205/820/2/L36 , Arxiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1602.04180

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Bigbangcon
2.2 / 5 (10) Mar 30, 2016
One group says there was gamma ray emission, the other group says "no gamma ray" - that conveniently fits the theory. Both are scientific observations, so should the theory be modified to fit both at the same time! Poor us, which one to believe! Inconsistency, thy name is Official Cosmology.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (12) Mar 30, 2016
One group says there was gamma ray emission, the other group says "no gamma ray" - that conveniently fits the theory. Both are scientific observations, so should the theory be modified to fit both at the same time!

Did you even read the article?
Bigbangcon
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 30, 2016
Did you even read the article?


"NASA's Fermi telescope detected the GRB, coming from the same point as the GW, a mere 0.4 seconds after the waves arrived. Though we can't be absolutely certain that the two phenomena are from the same black hole merger, the Fermi team calculates the odds of that being a coincidence at only 0.0022%. That's a pretty solid correlation":
http://phys.org/n...tml#nRlv
antialias_physorg
4.7 / 5 (12) Mar 30, 2016

Did you even read what you just posted? I'll repost the part you obviously didn't read:
hough we can't be absolutely certain that the two phenomena are from the same black hole merger


The part of the sky that the GW could have come from is pretty big. Before anyone will go and make any alteration we need a bit more data. Jumping the gun based on a single measurement that wasn't corroborated by another instrument looking in the same spectrum is premature.
Bigbangcon
2.7 / 5 (7) Mar 30, 2016
"Did you even read what you just posted?"

I quoted the whole paragraph, But did not read only the part I like and forget the rest of it! Nether did I swallow the bait with the hook - the claim of "proof" of a high profile theory through a subjective experiment (Nobel Award waiting) by a single group. The precision measurement of a length few order of magnitude less than the size of a proton etc. and when credibility of the results had to be demonstrated by publicly claiming that none of the key persons involved in the project sent any test signals at that time. The signals from the (not very likely) merging of two "black holes" also suddenly and conveniently came just after the setup at the two experimental location were completed.

For healthy science a little bit of skepticism is always helpful!
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (4) Mar 30, 2016
We really need that third gravity observatory.

OTOH, LISA is now up and running: https://www.elisascience.org/

So we're well on the way to actually putting up a gravity observatory in space.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 30, 2016
The signals from the (not very likely)
@bbc
yeah, it is all a conspiracy ... we all got the memo that there will be a whole series of scientific papers that will be published but they were leaving out all the eu and bbc posters because of april first

maybe you will get the MIT memo FRI

tell you what, send me your e-mail and i will make sure you get all of the future conspiracy memo's so that you're not left out of the loop again, ok?

thanks

[hyperbole]
viko_mx
2.5 / 5 (8) Mar 30, 2016
The paradox is that idolaters can not see fictional black holes and other elusive for the scientific equipment invented phenomena but blindly believe in them according to principles of meta physics - shamanic guesing.
They can not see God directly although He left His signature everywhere in the physical world for the observant people, but do not believe in Him. Because there is no enought love in them and because of this do not want to follow His will, and to live according to the principles of life - love and truth embedded in the God's law. They want to please their ego, but this leeds only to narcissistic self destruction.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (6) Mar 31, 2016
idolaters
@viko
hate to break this to you but, you are one as well if you are xtian
hello - the cross, jebus, all that is idolatry and a violation of your own commandments fundie-girl!
can not see fictional black holes
1- BH is not fictional
2- they made the same argument about air in the past because it couldn't be seen, but we can see the effects of air, just like we can see the effects of other stuff (matter) falling into a BH, which is predicted and absolutely measured and observed

i would links studies but you ignore them anyway, so ... meh

also note: you obviously didn't read JER 31:27 - 37 at all either, because you still lie and preach against your own deities wishes... need i spell it out further?

so you fail at reading, comprehension and literacy in general for science as well as your own bible on that post, fundie-girl
obama_socks
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2016
Did you even read the article?


"NASA's Fermi telescope detected the GRB, coming from the same point as the GW, a mere 0.4 seconds after the waves arrived. Though we can't be absolutely certain that the two phenomena are from the same black hole merger, the Fermi team calculates the odds of that being a coincidence at only 0.0022%. That's a pretty solid correlation":
http://phys.org/n...tml#nRlv
- Bigbangcon
Thanks for that link. I had forgotten about that little GRB trying to steal the limelight from LIGO.
obama_socks
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 31, 2016
idolaters
@viko
hate to break this to you but, you are one as well if you are xtian
the cross, jesus, all that is idolatry and a violation of your own commandments
can not see fictional black holes
)...)didn't read JER 31:27 - 37 at all either, because you still lie and preach against your own deities wishes...
- stump frumpy
31 "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke…"

obama_socks
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2016
Thus says the Lord,
Who gives the sun for a light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The Lord of hosts is His name):
36 
"If those ordinances depart
From before Me, says the Lord,
Then the seed of Israel shall also cease
From being a nation before Me forever."
37 Thus says the Lord:
"If heaven above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath,
I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
For all that they have done, says the Lord."

It says nothing about the cross, or Jesus, or idolatry.
"If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched..."

Seems to be more of a warning to Israel to not measure the heavens, or the earth beneath.

obama_socks
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2016
Jeremiah - KJV

"33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me..."

Stump seems to have been referring to 33 and 34. These are referring ONLY to the Hebrews years BEFORE the birth of Christ. So why does Stump accuse Viko of idolatry and violating God's Commandments? I believe Viko is a Christian, not a Jew. So this chapter and verse doesn't apply, unless Viko is of the House of Israel (as in verse 33).
The cross is symbolism of Jesus dying because of the sins of man.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2016
It says nothing about...idolatry
Stump seems to have been referring to 33 and 34
@obuttsqueegie
1- i didn't say it was about idolatry - so perhaps reading and comprehension isn't your strong suit... oh wait, your an xtian who has already demonstrated that part
never mind

2- at least you got PART of it correct. yes that was part of what i meant
ONLY to the Hebrews years BEFORE the birth of Christ
no, actually. one reason i put the whole thing in there is because it is the defining factors of the second covenant of your deity, which would be the covenant you are supposed to be abiding by today

also note: per MAT 5:17-19, all the old laws still apply (which you also routinely violate here on PO alone)
so, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew, xtian or muslim, the scripture applies to you, moron

one last point to your illiterate bible thumpers - religion aint science
it is the antithesis of science

bschott
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2016
"Did you even read what you just posted?"

I quoted the whole paragraph, But did not read only the part I like and forget the rest of it! Nether did I swallow the bait with the hook - the claim of "proof" of a high profile theory through a subjective experiment (Nobel Award waiting) by a single group. The precision measurement of a length few order of magnitude less than the size of a proton etc. and when credibility of the results had to be demonstrated by publicly claiming that none of the key persons involved in the project sent any test signals at that time. The signals from the (not very likely) merging of two "black holes" also suddenly and conveniently came just after the setup at the two experimental location were completed.

For healthy science a little bit of skepticism is always helpful!


So refreshing to watch thoughtfulness and logic applied when examining an experimental claim. Too bad you are in the minority here.
wduckss
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2016
bschott
Science is on the side of the minorities, not those who are numerous and which good can shout.
cantdrive85
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 31, 2016
, although at the time it was not pointing at the strip where the source of gravitational waves was thought to be located.

Yep, that's some good "proof" right there. Couldn't imagine a better representation of how modern cosmology works.
Enthusiastic Fool
5 / 5 (1) Apr 03, 2016
Science is on the side of the minorities, not those who are numerous and which good can shout.


Dat irony tho
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 04, 2016
Science is on the side of the minorities, not those who are numerous and which good can shout.


Science is on the side of those who can:
- show their work
- show that it matches observation
- show that it makes testable predictions

Nothing more nothing less. How few/many you are or how loud you are has absolutely nothing to with it.

This is why what cantdrive et al. push isn't science. They can't show their work, what they claim doesn't match observation and they make no testable predictions.
There's another name for something like this: Religion.
bschott
3 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2016
what they claim doesn't match observation


Redshift is evidence of spatial expansion - claim
All light isn't redshifted - observation

There is 5 X more matter in the universe than what we see, this matter is responsible for all unexplained motion - claim
We can't find any of it - observation

Nothing can escape the gravity of a BH - claim
Relativisitic jets of material are propelled away from BH's - observation

This happens because of the magnetic field generated by the disk of material circling the BH - claim

Spinning disks of matter moving unidirectionally cannot produce magnetic fields that focus beams of matter and propel them away - observation

The universe arose during a time of "faster than light expansion" - claim
Nothing moves faster than light - observation

There's another name for something like this: Religion.


Correct. Pretty soon theoretical math equations will be referred to as scriptures.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Apr 04, 2016
All light isn't redshifted - observation

Measured redshift is a superposition of expansion and relative motion. Why in the world would you even expect all light to be redshifted? That makes no sense.

We can't find any of it - observation

That's why it's still a hypothesis. Note the 'hypo' (look up what the prefix means)

Nothing can escape the gravity of a BH - claim
Relativisitic jets of material are propelled away from BH's - observation

Nothing can escape a BH that has passed the event horizon. The jets are created outside the event horizon. It does not originate in the BH. Where exactly is the problem?

Nothing moves faster than light - observation

Hello? Expansion is not a motion. Nothing 'moves' due to expansion (no mass is accelerated due to expansion). Also the speed of light limit goes for massive particles, only. Space is not a massive particle.

You have a lot of very basic physics to catch up on. You sure you're on the right site?

bschott
3 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2016
Why in the world would you even expect all light to be redshifted?

Because the claim is that ALL space is expanding which is causing the OBSERVED redshift.
That's why it's still a hypothesis. Note the 'hypo' (look up what the prefix means)

It is stated categorically to exist in most articles here, as though it is fact, not 'hypo'
Where exactly is the problem?

That the only theory to explain them is physically impossible, the theory of disk origin I mentioned
Hello? Expansion is not a motion

Really, watch a balloon inflate...is there motion?
Nothing 'moves' due to expansion (no mass is accelerated due to expansion)


I believe the theory of expansion was posed to explain the apparent motion of galaxies moving away from us....but hey, if nothing moves during expansion and you think space can travel faster than light because it isn't a particle...Onward and upward for you!

bschott
3 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2016
You have a lot of very basic physics to catch up on.


One would have to be insane to call your responses physics knowledge.

You sure you're on the right site?


This where the net brought me when I googled "Most fairy tales in one place"...

It's definitely the right site.

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