Last week, after the discovery of gravitational waves was officially announced by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the black hole theorist Stephen Hawking described the findings as revolutionary. “A new way of looking at the universe” was predicted by the Oxford physicist.

Hawking said in a BBC interview that the new findings confirmed several very important predictions that Einstein made about a century ago. LIGO discoveries immediately confirm the existence of gravitational waves.

Photo: Forbes
Photo: Forbes

Now that scientists determined how to detect gravitational waves, investigation methods could completely change and evolve, when looking at the Universe, said Ian O’Neill, Ph.D. in Solar Physics and science producer for Discovery News. Professor Hawking said to BBC that the ability to detect gravitational waves could present an Astronomy revolution.

Physicists using the Louisiana and Washington observation decks were also able to detect signals emitted by two black holes, created 1.3 billion light-years away. In 1970, Stephen Hawking proposed some black hole theories that match the new discoveries.

“This discovery is the first detection of a black hole binary system and the first observation of black holes merging. The observed properties of this system is consistent with predictions about black holes that I made in 1970 here in Cambridge.” Hawking added in a BBC interview.

That being said, the discovery has created a new puzzle for astrophysicists. Hawking stressed that the mass of each of the black holes is larger than expected for those formed by the gravitational collapse of a star. A new question needs to be answered: how did both of these black holes become so massive?.

New theories were already proposed

Professor Avi Loeb from Harvard University has already proposed a theory. He said to the Daily Mail that a massive star (two times bigger than our sun), can give birth to a pair of black holes instead of just one. In other words, when a massive star is rotating quickly, a centrifugal force during its collapse could lead to the formation of a bar that breaks into two clumps of matter, he wrote.

Scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory are expecting to obtain more data this year such as statistics, that could lead them to understand what happens when two black holes merge, said the director of Glasgow University’s Institute for Gravitational Research to MailOnline.

Source: Science News