Hmm… A Mid-Sized Black Hole — First One Ever Detected — At Vanderbilt University… Smile.

We decided to jump to deep interstellar space, for inspiration this fine morning. Away from the subtle but discernible sadness. . . that hangs over Kenosha. . . nearly six billion light years, off into the darkness, then:

An multi-national team of researchers, using very large (underground) gravity wave detectors in upper Washington state, and lower Louisiana, as well as across the pond, in Italy, have confirmed the existence of a “mid-sized” black hole — something to this point nowhere else detected in the known Universe. Here’s the bit:

. . . .An international team of astronomers working with the Laser Interferometry Gravitational Wave Observatory Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and the Virgo Collaboration announced on Wednesday that they have, for the first time in history, directly observed the gravitational waves generated by the formation of an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) — one with 142 times the mass of our local star. The team utilized the two LIGO sensors in America as well as the third located in Italy to make the observation. They have dubbed the gravitational wave, GW190521.

As Vanderbilt University research assistant professor, Dr. Karam Jani, explained to Engadget, the signal itself was minuscule — a mere four squiggly lines lasting just a tenth of a second — but its implications for our understanding of the cosmos are immense. “We were able to confirm that this came from a collision of two black holes,” Jani said. “Both of those are extremely massive; something that we know that stars cannot make.”

The individual black holes weighed roughly 85 and 65 times the mass of the sun, respectively. Both are beyond the theoretical weight limit of collapsars. When they smashed together six billion years ago in a region of space 5 gigaparsecs away, they released “eight solar masses of energy” in the form of a gravitational wave and gave birth to the even more massive IMBH that the team detected, according to a Vanderbilt press release. . . .

We remain haunted by these gravitational raindrops — falling silently, into a flat pond — that ripple through eternity’s serene nights. . . smile.


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