Black Hole Traffic Accidents May Produce Monster Mergers

A snapshot of a simulation showing the binary black hole formed in the heart of a dense cluster of stars. Credit: Northwestern Visualization/Carl Rodriguez
New research reveals that some black hole collisions may cascade, with the dense objects crashing into one another to create even more-massive black holes. This runaway growth may happen within groups of stars known a globular clusters.

By Nola Taylor Redd |

We think these clusters formed with hundreds to thousands of black holes that rapidly sank down in the center,“ Carl Rodriguez, a theoretical astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a statement. Working with an international team of scientists, Rodriguez modeled how black hole collisions should function according to Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The researchers found that black holes initially created by stars within globular clusters should grow more to be than 50 times as massive as Earth’s sun if they collide with other black holes.

„These kinds of clusters are essentially factories for black hole binaries, where you’ve got so many black holes hanging out in a small region of space that two black holes could merge and produce a more massive black hole. Then, that new black hole can find another companion and merge again.“ [No Escape: Dive into a Black Hole (Infographic)]

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