Black holes have puzzled researchers for a long time, and it seems that new questions surface as we learn more about them. A team of astronomers has spotted an ancient clash between two black holes, which led to the formation of one with an impressive size.
Black holes exert such a powerful force that even light can’t escape their grasp. In the past, it was observed that they come in two versions. One is represented by small black holes, which form during the collapse of a star. The other is represented by supermassive black holes, which are found at the heart of many galaxies.
Previous data inferred that it would be impossible to find black holes between the two sizes since stars that grow too large before their collapse would consume the material, preventing the formation of a black hole.
As such, star collapses could create black holes, which are up to 70 times larger than our sun. However, in May 2019, an interesting signal was observed, and further research revealed that it signaled a clash between two black holes. One was 66 times larger than the sun, while the other was 85 times larger than the sun.
The result of the clash was the formation of an intermediate black hole, which has a mass equal to that of 142 suns. Astronomers used LIGO and Virgo to capture and interpret the signal.
According to the result, the clash took place 7 billion years ago when the universe was younger. At the same time, collisions were observed before the black holes were smaller, and the resulting ones were below or around the average mass of a stellar black hole.
Scientists are still baffled by the way in which supermassive black holes form, but the new data could offer interesting details. A paper was published in a scientific journal.