How LIGO or a futuristic spacecraft could find insights within the singularity of a black hole

in science •  4 months ago

If you got this close, it would already be too late. Credit: Cornell University. Image Source

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." Albert Einstein, From the memoirs of William Miller, an editor, quoted in Life magazine, May 2, 1955; Expanded, p. 281

Einstein predicted the gravitational waves within his General Theory of Relativity in 1916. One hundred and one years later in August 2017, LIGO astronomical observatory team and scientific fellows announced the first significant gravitational-wave signal recorded by their Virgo detectors. Will they be able to listen inside a singularity any further?

By definition, a singularity is located inside a black hole where matter is absorbed and does not allow light to escape, therefore can't be observed directly. An observer could send information to a black hole, but nothing will come outside of it keeping its secrets safe forever.

LIGO - Virgo Observatory. Credit: The Virgo collaboration/CCO 1.0 Image Source

One of the biggest puzzles in science is to explore the true nature of singularities. The nature of these singularities can't be explained accurately because of its mathematical complexity and there is no such working theory that unifies General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics yet.

Unsurprisingly, an observational proof for nearby black holes just to the border of its event horizon is not coming anytime soon. However, science is working and LIGO team is upgrading their Virgo detectors to improve sensitivity and planning to launch a new observing exercise this fall 2018.

This week, Abraham Loeb, chair of the astronomy department at Harvard University, had thoughts. An observable quantum signal from the embedded singularities could guide us in the search for an unified theory. He says that future generations of LIGO detectors would serve as child's ears in extracting new information from quantum signals generated when a black-hole horizon is on a collision with another black hole. This analogy comes from when a child on his birthday strongly shakes a present to learn about what it's inside without opening the actual box.

Similarly, he also wonders where matter that makes a black hole collects. It has to go somewhere as a sewer pipe takes water to a town reservoir but we don't think where this water goes down because we can't see it once leaves our property. On this analogy, the town reservoir is a black-hole singularity. Therefore, how big could the size of this reservoir receiving all matter be?

Fascinating, LIGO continues to study data completed in previous observations, while they are preparing for greater sensitivity expected to listen to other singularities on their next run.

Perhaps their work may save the unknown costs of a very long one-way trip to the nearest identified black hole V616 Mon luckily located as far as about 3,000 light years.

Ref: Let's Talk About Black Hole Singularities

I am really into astronomy and scientific articles about new discoveries, surely, awesome things will still happen during our lifespan.


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Fascinating article. Am only familiar with this subject because of the movie Interstellar! Clearly there is lots more to learn...


Thank you, Sam! I found this reference publication while reading some new papers in - Cornell University. This site is a top source of scientific resources