Lightest black hole merger detected
Scientists searching for gravitational waves have confirmed yet another detection from their fruitful observation run earlier this year. The latest discovery, dubbed GW170608, was produced by the merger of two very light black holes. One of the black holes had a mass of just 7 times the mass of our sun, where the other had a mass of 12 times that of our sun.
The collision (or merger) happened at a distance of about a thousand million light-years from Earth.
The merger left behind a final black hole 18 times the mass of the sun, meaning that energy equivalent to about 1 solar mass was emitted as gravitational waves during the collision.
Dr John Veitch, who is co-chair of LIGO’s Compact Binary Coalescence Search Group and Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy said:
“GW170608 is the lightest pair of black holes that we have detected so far, which provides us with new opportunities to explore the crossover between gravitational wave astronomy and more conventional forms of astronomy.”