QUO Fast Radio Bursts

E03: Record Breaking Black Hole Collision

November 02, 2020 Queen's Observatory Season 1 Episode 4
QUO Fast Radio Bursts
E03: Record Breaking Black Hole Collision
Show Notes



  • In Sept 2020, LIGO reported a BH merger of two very massive BH resulting in an IMBH of 142 times the mass of our sun. This is the most massive gravitational wave detection to date.
  • The two inspiralling progenitor black holes had masses of about 85 and 66 solar masses and resulted in the formation of a black hole remnant of 142 solar masses and 6 solar masses of gravitational wave emission.
  • The progenitor black holes are also very massive and are very hard to produce with current theories. One possibility is that these progenitors were results of BH mergers too. However, there is no way to detect that. 
  • This discovery looked different than the previous signals seen. Earlier gravitational waves have been like “chirps” but this one was more of a “bang.” So, scientists have also been wondering about other sources that can produce GW. Such as a supernova in our Galaxy or a Cosmic String just created in the early ages of the universe. The chances are very small but still interesting.


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Special thanks to Colin Vendromin for the music also thanks to Zac Kenny for the logo!