Feeds

Black hole boffins close in on gravity waves

Peering at pulsars produces promising pulling premise

Top three mobile application threats

While the world looks for ways to directly observe gravity waves, boffins at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) say they've used information about the Einsteinian prediction to examine huge black holes in space.

In what they call a “new chapter in astronomy”, post-doctoral CSIRO fellow Dr Ryan Shannon and PhD student Vikram Ravi believe they've worked out the likely – and low – rate of background gravitational waves in the universe.

They've done this by examining data from the Parkes radio-telescope's PPTA (Parkes Pulsar Timing Array) project which, along with a previous CSIRO-Swinburne University collaboration provides 20 years' worth of pulsar timing data.

The timing of pulsar signals is extremely precise, the researchers say, but as a gravitational wave passes the pulsar's region, it would swell or shrink distances in that region, changing the timing of the pulse from Earth's point of view.

“The strength of the gravitational wave background depends on how often supermassive black holes spiral together and merge, how massive they are, and how far away they are. So if the background is low, that puts a limit on one or more of those factors,” CSIRO says in its media release.

As a result, the group believes one model used to explain supermassive black holes, galactic merger, should be discarded because it doesn't explain enough of the mass of black holes. The timing data will next be used to test other models of supermassive black hole growth.

Project leader, CSIRO's Dr George Hobbs, believes the timing data will one day allow direct detection of gravitational waves. “We haven't yet detected gravitational waves outright, but we're now into the right ballpark to do so,” he says.

He explained that combining pulsar-timing data from Parkes with that from other telescopes in Europe and the USA — a total of about 50 pulsars — should provide enough accuracy to detect gravitational waves “within ten years”.

The CSIRO video below illustrates spinning black holes generating gravitational waves. ®

Watch Video

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.