The background hum of space could reveal hidden black holes—12 April 2018

Monash University scientists, with funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC), have developed a way to listen in on the background noise from deep space, to detect the merging of black holes by the gravitational waves they release in the fabric of spacetime. 

The gravitational waves from black hole mergers imprint a distinctive whooping sound in the data collected by gravitational-wave detectors. The new technique is expected to reveal the presence of thousands of previously hidden black holes, by teasing out their faint whoops from a sea of static.

ARC Future Fellow Dr Eric Thrane and Dr Rory Smith of Monash University, together with Swinburne University's ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) are responsible for the development, which has been published in a landmark paper in US Journal, Physical Review X.

Speaking to its significance, Dr Thrane said: “Measuring the gravitational-wave background will allow us to study populations of black holes at vast distances. Someday, the technique may enable us to see gravitational waves from the Big Bang, hidden behind gravitational waves from black holes and neutron stars.”

Media issued by Monash University.


Image: gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of spacetime.
Source: Pixabay  CC0

Original Published Date: 
Thursday, April 12, 2018