Wednesday, June 24, 2020

LIGO discovers new object

The NY Times reports:
Astronomers announced today that they had discovered something new out in the dark: a stellar corpse too heavy to be a neutron star — the remnant of a supernova explosion — but not heavy enough to be a black hole.

Whatever it once was, it is long gone. About 780 million years ago — and 780 light-years away — it was eaten by a black hole 23 times more massive than the sun. That feast left behind an even heavier black hole — a vast, hungry nothing with the mass of 25 suns.

News of that event only recently reached Earth, in the form of space-time ripples known as gravitational waves. These evanescent vibrations were felt on Aug. 14, 2019, by an array of antennas in Italy and the United States called the International LIGO-Virgo Collaboration, and the results were published on Tuesday in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Maybe this will be corrected by the time you read this, but if we are just seeing something from 789 million years ago, then it must be 780 million light-years away.

Gravitational waves travel at the speed of light. The universe has expanded in that time, so the distance then is smaller than the distance today, and so referring to distance is a little imprecise. Still, it is rate to see the NY Times off by a factor a million, on a matter than does not involve Pres. Trump.

Update: The NY Times corrected the article without comment.

1 comment:

  1. LIGO must be the most expensive magic eight ball ever conceived by mankind, and just about as useless, except for entertainment value at cocktail parties where the guests are already half drunk. Their previous claims of detection are also dubious at best (skepticism rears its ugly head), as they are dependent upon 1.) a pre-conceived signal to overwhelming noise ratio so absurd it literally defies measurement (accurate to under the width of a proton my ass), and 2.) is further buried under so much computer processed bullshit that not even they are able to fully distinguish between their own fake signals and their supposed 'detection'.

    The primary purpose of LIGO is actually to employ otherwise unemployable people and promote esoteric scientism, not the detection of distant stellar objects.