Show an ad over header. AMP

Scientists have spotted a new kind of black hole for the first time

Scientists announced Wednesdaythe first surefire evidence of a never-before-seen type of black hole in deep space.

Why it matters: Intermediate-mass black holes could be key to understanding how black holes and galaxies form.

In May 2019, scientists using the LIGO and Virgo observatories detected a signal from two black holes colliding. That collision formed a black hole thought to be about 142 times the mass of the Sun, making it the first confirmed intermediate-mass black hole.

  • It is the most massive merger detected so far: The two black holes that created this intermediate-mass black hole were about 85 and 66 solar masses. The signal from their cosmic crash took about 7 billion years to travel to Earth.
  • Scientists think it's possible the 85-solar-mass black hole may have actually formed after previous mergers, adding another surprise to the detection.
  • "After so many gravitational-wave observations since the first detection in 2015, it’s exciting that the universe is still throwing new things at us, and this 85-solar-mass black hole is quite the curveball," Chase Kimball, one of the authors of two studies detailing the discovery said in a statement.

The backdrop: LIGO and Virgo detect gravitational waves — the minute ripples that warp space and time after cataclysmic crashes between black holes and neutron stars.

  • These types of observations add another way for astronomers to understand the universe beyond telescopes that capture light from distant stars and galaxies.

The big picture: Scientists have plenty of examples of black holes with similar masses to the Sun — which form when large stars collapse — and supermassive black holes millions of times the mass of our star at the center of galaxies.

  • But this is the first time researchers have found clear evidence of a black hole in between those extremes.
  • "One of the great mysteries in astrophysics is how do supermassive black holes form?" Christopher Berry, another author of the studies said in the statement.
  • "Long have we searched for an intermediate-mass black hole to bridge the gap between stellar-mass and supermassive black holes. Now, we have proof that intermediate-mass black holes do exist."

Go deeper: The hunt for a new kind of black hole

"A long way to go": Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

Keep reading... Show less

Beijing draws Chinese companies even closer

Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping announced last week that the party must strengthen its leadership over private companies, and that entrepreneurs must meet the party's needs. 

Why it matters: Xi's new announcement will increase fears that Chinese businesses may serve as a Trojan horse for the CCP.

Keep reading... Show less

Trump to meet with Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa in Florida on Friday

President Trump has arranged to meet with shortlisted Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa during a campaign visit to Florida on Friday, according to two sources familiar with his plans.

What we're hearing: Sources who know both Trump and Lagoa say they still expect the president to pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett, but they view the Lagoa meeting as a wild card because they say she has a charismatic personality that would appeal to Trump.

Keep reading... Show less

The U.S. now has more then 200,000 coronavirus deaths

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus has now killed 200,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Whatever contextyou try to put this in, it is a catastrophe of historic proportions — and is yet another reminder of America's horrific failure to contain the virus.

Keep reading... Show less

In UN address, Trump says China "unleashed this plague onto the world"

President Trump used a virtual address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to defend his response to the coronavirus and call on other countries to “hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China.”

Setting the scene: Trump ticked through four years of major decisions and accomplishments in what could be his last address to the UN. But first, he launched into a fierce attack on China as Beijing’s representative looked on in the assembly hall.

Keep reading... Show less

Trump says he will announce Supreme Court pick on Saturday

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that he plans to announce his Supreme Court pick on Saturday.

Why it matters: Republicans are moving fast to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which would tilt the balance of the high court in conservatives' favor and have lasting impact on climate policy, immigration and the Affordable Care Act. Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who met with the president this week, is a frontrunner for the job.

Wall Street fears stimulus is doomed

The fight over a new Supreme Court justice will take Washington's partisan bickering to a new level and undermine any chance for needed coronavirus relief measures before November's election, Wall Street analysts say.

What we're hearing: "With the passing of Justice Ginsburg, the level of rhetorical heat has increased, if that seemed even possible," Greg Staples, head of fixed income for the Americas at DWS Group, tells Axios in an email.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories