The discovery of the gravitational wave is hailed as among the most important breakthroughs of 2016 not only because it validated Albert Einstein's prediction. It also launched a new branch of science that offers scientists a new way to study and unveil the mysteries of the universe.
Astronomers in particular can now investigate the objects and phenomena that are cloaked from view because of the discovery of gravitational waves.
It appears that scientists are not disappointed by how gravitational waves can shed more light on the events that happen in the cosmos. Just over a year after researchers from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory publicly announced that they had made their first observations of gravitational waves, astronomers found another evidence of the power of the phenomenon in influencing events in the universe.
Gravitational Wave Behind Supermassive Black Hole Kicked From Its Home Galaxy
On March 24, NASA revealed that scientists have found a supermassive black hole that was kicked out of the center of a distant galaxy. Researchers think that a gravitational wave is behind the phenomenon.
Researchers estimate the the energy needed to expel the black hole from the center of its galactic home is equivalent to 100 million supernovas simultaneously exploding.
Scientists think that the most plausible explanation for this amount of energy produced is that the black hole was pushed by gravitational waves unleashed when two hefty black holes merged at the center of the host galaxy.
Based on visible evidence and theoretical work, researchers came up with a possible scenario of how the black hole was expelled from its home. The researchers' theory posits that as the two galaxies merged, their black holes settled into the central region of the newly formed elliptical galaxy.
Gravitational waves were flung out as the black holes swirled around each other and as the two objects got closer to each other over time, these objects radiated away gravitational energy.
If the two black holes do not have the same rotation rate and mass, the emitted gravitational waves would move strongly along one direction. The objects would stop producing gravitational waves once they merge, but the newly fused black hole recoiled in the opposite direction of the strongest gravitational waves and then got jettisoned.
Not all black hole mergers produce imbalanced gravitational waves that can propel a black hole in the opposite direction. Scientists think it is fortunate that NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this event.
Supermassive Black Holes Can Merge
If the interpretation of the researchers is proven correct, the observation could offer strong evidence that supermassive black holes can merge. It also backs up the optimistic idea that gravitational waves can shed light on mysterious events in the universe.
"The gravitational waves that are detectible by LIGO will be caused by some of the most energetic events in the universe - colliding black holes, exploding stars, and even the birth of the universe itself," LIGO said. "Detecting and analyzing the information carried by gravitational waves will allow us to observe the universe in a way never before possible."