Direct collision between two black holes that generated anomalous gravitational waves


With a gradual approach between two black holes there was no spiral dance, but a direct and immediate collision . This appears to be the phenomenon that has caused anomalous gravitational wave signals captured so far by detectors and which still have no explanation.


The result, due to the collaboration between the section of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (Infn) at the University of Turin and the Friedrich Schiller University (Fsu) of Jena, has been published in Nature Astronomy and, if confirmed, could provide a new tool useful for interpreting gravitational signals, thus increasing the understanding of the configurations that characterize binary black hole systems.

These new types of collisions have been identified through computer simulations. The model obtained demonstrated the existence of systems composed of two black holes with elongated orbits that give rise to rapid and punctual collisions . These are in line with the anomalous events observed by the gravitational wave detectors of the American Ligo interferometer and by the European Virgo, which is located in Italy and belongs to the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) founded by Infn and the National Research Council French (Cnrs).

The analysis of a particular signal recorded on May 21, 2019 by the Ligo and Virgo collaborations revealed differences with respect to the data we are used to dealing with. The shape and the brevity – less than a tenth of a second – of the signal associated with the event lead us to hypothesize an instantaneous fusion between two holes, which occurred in the absence of a spiraling phase.

Alessandro Nagar, of the Infn section of Turin.

  • Anomalous gravitational waves from the direct collision of two black holes (


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