黑洞碰撞可能发生光爆炸

In a first, astronomers may have seen light from the merger of two black holes, providing opportunities to learn about these mysterious dark objects.

天文学家们首次看到了来自两个黑洞合并产生的光线,为了解这些神秘的黑暗物体提供了机会。

This artist’s concept shows a supermassive black hole surrounded by a disk of gas. Embedded in this disk are two smaller black holes that may have merged together to form a new black hole.

这幅艺术家的概念图展示了一个被气体盘包围的超大质量黑洞。在这个气体盘中嵌入了两个较小的黑洞,它们可能合并在一起形成了一个新的黑洞。

When two black holes spiral around each other and ultimately collide, they send out gravitational waves – ripples in space and time that can be detected with extremely sensitive instruments on Earth. Since black holes and black hole mergers are completely dark, these events are invisible to telescopes and other light-detecting instruments used by astronomers. However, theorists have come up with ideas about how a black hole merger could produce a light signal by causing nearby material to radiate.

当两个黑洞相互旋转并最终相撞时,它们会发出引力波——空间和时间的涟漪,可以用地球上极其敏感的仪器来探测。由于黑洞和黑洞合并是完全黑暗的,这些事件对于天文学家使用的望远镜和其他光探测仪器来说是看不见的。然而,理论家们已经想出了黑洞合并如何通过引起附近物质的辐射而产生光信号的想法。

当两个黑洞相互旋转并最终相撞时,它们会发出引力波——地球上极其敏感的仪器可以探测到的时空涟漪。由于黑洞和黑洞合并是完全黑暗的,这些事件对于天文学家使用的望远镜和其他光探测仪器来说是不可见的。然而,理论学家提出了黑洞合并如何通过引起附近物质的辐射来产生光信号的想法。

Now, scientists using Caltech’s Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) located at Palomar Observatory near San Diego may have spotted what could be just such a scenario. If confirmed, it would be the first known light flare from a pair of colliding black holes.

现在,使用位于圣地亚哥附近的帕洛玛天文台的加州理工学院兹威基瞬态设施(ZTF)的科学家可能已经发现了这样一种情况。如果得到证实,这将是第一个来自一对碰撞的黑洞的已知光耀。

The merger was identified on May 21, 2019, by two gravitational wave detectors – the National Science Foundation’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, and the European Virgo detector – in an event called GW190521g. That detection allowed the ZTF scientists to look for light signals from the location where the gravitational wave signal originated. These gravitational wave detectors have also spotted mergers between dense cosmic objects called neutron stars, and astronomers have identified light emissions from those collisions.

2019年5月21日,两个引力波探测器——美国国家科学基金会的激光干涉仪引力波天文台,简称LIGO,以及欧洲的Virgo探测器——发现了这次合并,该事件被称为GW190521g。这一发现使ZTF的科学家们能够从引力波信号产生的位置寻找光信号。这些引力波探测器还发现了被称为中子星的致密宇宙物体之间的合并,天文学家们已经确定了这些碰撞产生的光辐射。

Learn more: What Is a Black Hole?

Black Hole Image Makes History; NASA Telescopes Coordinated Observations

了解更多:什么是黑洞?

黑洞图像创造了历史;NASA望远镜协调观

Image Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

图片来源:加州理工学院/R.赫特(IPAC)

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