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.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.
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.
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.