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Researchers find the origin and the maximum mass of massive black holes

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Through simulations of a dying star, a team of theoretical physics researchers have found the evolutionary origin and the maximum mass of black holes which are discovered by the detection of gravitational waves.

The exciting detection of gravitational waves with LIGO (laser interferometer gravitational-wave observatory) and VIRGO (Virgo interferometric gravitational-wave antenna) have shown the presence of merging black holes in close binary systems.

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The masses of the observed black holes before merging have been measured and turned out to have a much larger than previously expected mass of about 10 times the mass of the Sun. In one such event, GW170729, the observed mass of a black hole before merging is actually as large as about 50 solar masses. But it is not clear which stars can form such a massive black hole, or what the maximum size of black holes observed by the gravitational wave detectors is.

By calculating several such pulsations and associated mass ejections until the star collapses to form a black hole, the team found that the maximum mass of the black hole formed from pulsational pair-instability supernova is 52 solar masses.

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Stars initially more massive than 130 solar masses undergo the pair instability supernova process due to explosive oxygen burning, which disrupts the star completely with no black hole remnant. Stars above 300 solar masses collapse and may form a black hole more massive than about 150 solar masses.

The above results predict that there exists a ‘mass-gap’ in the black hole mass between 52 and about 150 solar masses. The results mean that the 50 solar mass black hole in GW170729 is most likely a remnant of a pulsational pair-instability supernova.

Source: https://sciencebulletin.org/researchers-find-the-origin-and-the-maximum-mass-of-massive-black-holes/

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