First Intermediate Mass Black Hole Found - Posing a Massive Question - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion September 2, 2020

Astronomers found the first known intermediate-mass black hole from gravitational waves created in a titanic collision.

Astronomers have long suspected the presence of black holes larger than this created by stars, but smaller than those at the centers of galaxies. Now, they’ve found one. 

An artist impression of the behemoth collision between black holes. Image credit: Northwestern University

The first intermediate mass black hole ever seen has been discovered by astronomers, forming from the collision of a pair of smaller black holes. Interestingly, one of these had a mass that should not be allowed by our current understanding of these enigmatic objects.

An international team of astronomers witnessed the birth of the first intermediate-mass black hole ever detected. On May 21, 2019, a pair of gravitational wave observatories — The Laser Interferometry Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in the United States, and Virgo, a three-kilometer-long detector in Italy — detected an unusual signal, dubbed GW190521.

This signal, resembling four short wiggles, lasted less than a tenth of a second. Yet, it revealed the formation of the first intermediate-mass black hole ever discovered.

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