When two neutron stars collided far in space, the gravitational waves generated by such a powerful concussion were directed towards the Earth. Having traveled a path of several million and billions of kilometers, the waves were discovered in 2017, when scientists, looking through records of gravitational waves, found evidence of the existence of a black hole that violates all the laws of physics. According to an article published on livescience.com, the discovery of this unusual object calls into question Einstein's theory of general relativity. So what's wrong with the found black hole?
The oddities of black holes
In general relativity, black holes are simple objects: infinitely compressed singularities or specific points of matter surrounded by smooth event horizons through which neither light, nor energy, nor any other physical substance can pass. Until now, every bit of data collected by scientists from black holes has supported this familiar and familiar model.
But in the 1970s, Stephen Hawking wrote a series of papers in which he suggested that the boundaries of black holes are not so smooth. Instead, they are heavily blurred due to a number of quantum mechanics-related phenomena that allow Hawking radiation to evaporate. In the years that followed, several other black hole models emerged in which these smooth, perfect event horizons would be replaced by thinner and more diffuse membranes. In one of their newest theories, physicists predicted that this fog will be especially intense around newly formed black holes and will be significant enough to reflect gravitational waves, producing a kind of echo. A black hole discovered in 2017 can serve as real proof of this hypothesis. So, experts argue that what was previously considered a dumb cosmic monster, attracting even the smallest particles of light and time itself to its surroundings, in fact rings like an echo of a bell, thus destroying the simple physics of black holes.
Collision of two neutron stars could lead to the appearance of a black hole
Niaesh Afshordi, a physicist at the University of Waterloo in Canada, argues that according to Einstein's theory of relativity, there should not be any loose material near the black hole that reflects gravitational waves. Even those black holes that surround themselves with disks of material tend to have an empty zone right around their event horizons. Nevertheless, data from existing gravitational wave detectors show that this rule, which we are used to, does not always work. The detection of the cosmic "echo" in this case is a direct proof of the falsity of this theory.
However, not all experts support the idea that we will soon have to revise the usual knowledge in the field of physics. Maximiliano Easy, an astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believes that even if the echo does exist, scientists cannot prove with absolute certainty that the object that caused the cosmic echo was indeed a black hole. Instead of it, any other exotic object formed after the collision of neutron stars could well have arisen. So, this short-lived intermediate object could be the remnant of a hypermassive star, collapsing after collision for a second or so. The result of this phenomenon was the detected echo, which reached the Earth hundreds of millions of light years after the grandiose cosmic event.