Physicists from MIT have “heard” the ringing of an newborn black hole for the first time. These astronomers have recorded the gravitational waves emitted by the formation of a new black hole. The waves seemed to ripple out from the cosmic infant like the sound waves emanating from a ringing bell.
This ringing was the first of their kind to be detected and studied as revealed in the research published this Wednesday in the journal Physical Review Letters. An MIT press release said that it’s that distinct “ringing,” that provides even further credibility to Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity implies that a black hole, born from the cosmically shuddering collision of two massive black holes, should itself “ring” in the aftershock, producing gravitational waves similar to a struck bell that reverberates sound waves. Einstein projected that the specific pitch and decay of these gravitational waves should be a direct identity of the newly formed black hole’s mass and spin.
According to the press release, the new findings provide evidence to Einstein’s theory as waves given off by the infant black hole lend evidence that just as Einstein predicted black holes have only three observable properties of mass, spin, and electric charge. The scientists were successful in probing the gravitational waves for values of the black hole’s mass and spin that corresponded with other observations of the black hole.
NASA and MIT astrophysicist Maximiliano Isi said in the press release, “We all expect general relativity to be correct, but this is the first time we have confirmed it in this way”.