Gravitational Waves could help us to Understand Dark Matter

Gravitational Waves could help us to Understand Dark Matter

A recent research suggests that we might get a mathematical relationship between black holes and dark matter pretty soon.

Albert Einstein was the first man to predict the existence of gravitational waves in 1916. He suggested about these ripples in the fabric of space-time in his General Theory of Relativity. Some of the most energetic processes in the universe give birth to these extraordinary waves. In addition to that, Einstein proposed that these gravitational waves will travel at the speed of light through the universe. Some of the violent celestial events that lead to these powerful ripples include the collapse of stellar cores, collision between neutron stars or white dwarf stars, and colliding black holes.

Despite the prediction of Einstein, the actual proof of their existence came in 1974. A couple of astronomers at the Arecibo Radio Observatory found two extremely dense and heavy stars orbiting around each other. Knowing the fact that such a system is ideal for locating gravitational waves, they decided to observe the period of the stars’ orbit. They found that the stars were getting closer to each other at exactly the rate predicted by the General Theory of Relativity if they were emitting gravitational waves. Scientists kept observing that system for more than 40 years which confirmed the existence of the gravitational waves.

In addition to that, a lot of pulsar radio emissions were observed and all of them indicated that the predictions of Einstein were absolutely precise. Having said that, all of these findings were either based on mathematics or they have come from an indirect path. Things took a dramatic turn when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected the distortions in space-time, which were created by a collision between two black holes. This was a historic moment for humanity which changed the entire complexion of space exploration.

Read also: Einstein’s Theory of Gravity passes yet another Test

The latest advancement in this regard is the development of the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) which will enable the researchers to investigate the fabric of the universe. According to a recent report, LISA will allow astrophysicists to study emitted gravitational waves as soon as black holes collide with or capture other black holes. It will have three spacecraft which will orbit the sun in a constant triangular formation. The slightest of the distortion, produced by the passing of gravitational waves, in this formation will be detected by the laser beams connecting the spacecraft.

Researchers from the University of Zurich collaborated with scientists from Canada and Greece to determine that LISA could prove helpful in studying the invisible part of the universe: Dark Matter. Scientists believe that nearly 85% of the universe is made up of mysterious dark matter particles. The existence of a lot of galaxies would not have been possible without the presence of a large amount of dark matter. For instance, Dwarf Galaxies cannot survive without dark matter. That’s the reason why these galaxies are considered ‘natural laboratories’ for studying this mysterious form of matter.

Despite all the evidence, these particles are purely hypothetical, at least for now, as no one has been able to see them. ohHHowever, things may change pretty quickly once the LISA starts operating. Tomas Ramfal, a Ph.D. student at UZD, carried out high-resolution computer simulations of the birth of dwarf galaxies and found some amazing results. The researching team found a strong connection between the merger rates of central black holes and the amount of dark matter at the center of the dwarf galaxy while determining the relationship between stars, dark matter, and the central black holes of these galaxies. Consequently, it was concluded that the study of gravitational waves emitted by merging black holes can provide some useful hints about the properties of the dark matter.

The researchers mentioned that this discovery has come up just at the right time as the preparations for the final design of LISA in progress. This is one reason why a lot of physicists got excited about the preliminary results of the simulations. For the first time ever, this connection between dark matter and black holes will be described in an exact mathematical way. Lucio Mayer, the Lead Physicist of the research, praised the discovery by saying,

Dark matter is the distinguishing quality of dwarf galaxies. We had therefore long suspected that this should also have a clear effect on cosmological properties.

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