A black hole created by the collision of two black holes can ideally be accelerated to almost 10 percent of the speed of light in the process. Two mathematicians from the USA determined this with the help of computer simulations and speak of a theoretical upper limit of 26,677 ± 470 km/s. This is well above a previously determined maximum value of around 5000 km/s and corresponds to around 9 percent of the speed of light (299,792 km/s), write James Healy and Carlos Lousto from the Rochester Institute of Technology in the US state of New York.
Greatest recoil in direct collision
Since it was determined on the basis of simulations that the recoil caused by the merger of two black holes can catapult the resulting objects away at enormous speeds, the researchers write that examples have been sought. Such events have been researched for years with the help of gravitational wave detectors. At the same time, theorists are busy determining the extreme values of such collisions. It was quickly assumed that the rotational speed of the two black holes in particular has a decisive share in the strength of the recoil. That has been confirmed, but it is not alone.
Healy and Lousto simulated just over 1,300 collisions with the most varied of conditions and impact angles. Unlike previous work, they focused on direct collisions rather than mergers preceded by a period in which both orbit each other. The greatest recoil was therefore in frontal collisions, which were particularly close. Such a scenario is conceivable, for example, when two black holes orbit a third one in opposite directions and meet there, explains Lousto Science News. Their work was published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
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