Soon the time of waiting begins again – on the next quake of the universe. A short vibration, which can be to our planet for a fraction of a second to tremble. Triggered by a wave, which is since billions of years on the road, and of the most extreme objects in the universe: from Black holes.

In this spring of the large-scale plant, LIGO in the US to start again. In the last three years, the Experiment has revolutionized astrophysics. Because it has, for the first time detected gravitational waves, and collisions of Black holes. Now that the champagne bottles have been drunk and the Nobel prize was won, the real work begins from LIGO, the “Laser Interferometer gravitational-wave Observatory”: the exploration of the dark part of our universe.

Black holes, LIGO has shown, are no figments of the physicists. They exist – and surprisingly common. They shape our universe, even our direct cosmic neighbourhood. But above all, the giants show the science of learning your limits: no one knows what happens Inside a Black hole. Who reveals this secret, which opens the door to the physics of the future.

When the door opened for business in September 2015 for the first Time a crack was Frank Ohme on vacation. “For many years we had prepared for the Experiment,” says the theoretical physicist. “As the last Tests were done, I wanted to take with me for the last Time.” But hardly are the two gravitational-wave detectors were turned on, it reported both a discovery. A Mistake? An Exercise for the case of an emergency? “First of all, I took the Signal not at all serious – it just seemed to be too perfect. It was only when I returned from vacation, I realized after weeks: This is real! We have stumbled on to something really Big!”

What has been observed in LIGO?

The task of Ohme and other theorists, it was figuring out what had just been observed in LIGO. A tough nut to crack, because, after all, the measured Signal had lasted only 0.2 seconds and was extremely weak: It had the detectors, only the fraction of the nuclear diameter in vibration. However, the experts were able to reconstruct from the data of a huge event: the final dance of two Black holes. 1.4 billion light-years away from earth, they circled each other, dozens of times per second, with up to 60 percent of the speed of light. They approached until they were within 350 kilometres of each other. Then they rushed into one another, have United to form one single big Black hole. The merger was a huge process that you can offset the room, the whole universe is in vibration – this was detected in 1.4 billion years later, from LIGO.

A milestone of science. Never before have researchers had detected the vibrations of space, the gravitational waves. In addition, the measurement was the long-awaited proof that Black holes really exist. This was earlier than likely, but because these objects are “black”, optical telescopes are not directly observed. With LIGO, mankind was given the opportunity to listen to the giants, so to speak.

With the gravitational wave detectors can investigate researchers finally the dark part of the universe. And in fact, they were surprised at the first observation: Black holes with this mass were not expected – one of them was as heavy as 30 suns, and the other as 36 suns. The observation remained not an isolated case. Between 2015 and 2017, LIGO joined to nine more collisions of Black holes. The mysterious giants don’t seem to be so common in the universe, that they meet not so rarely to each other.

The Experiment in the last year, it was improved and sensitive. In addition, a third at Pisa, in Italy, is to the two plants in the United States encountered. The three are due to start in the spring to a one – year – of its longest measurement of time. “We expect three to four times more discoveries than in the past,” says Ohme. The observation of Black holes is the norm.


Frank Ohme is this time again. “Much of the technology was developed in Germany, such as the Laser, but also the most important analytical devices and models.” Ohme and his Team from the Albert Einstein Institute in Hanover, to simulate how signals of possible collisions look to find them in the jumble of the data better. Even though you use a Supercomputer, take the bills up to eight weeks for a single Simulation. However, what the Team is capable of from the data read out, puzzled – so about the history of Black holes can be reconstructed: the angular momentum of the two colossi in the same direction, they came to be together, otherwise, they met the to due in All.

the basis of Ohmes calculations are the equations of the General theory of relativity, the magnum Opus of Albert Einstein, with whom he designed over 100 years ago, a new Blueprint of the universe. In November 1915, Einstein presented his ideas. Within weeks, they spread – even to the battlefields of the First world war. On the Eastern front in Russia, Karl Schwarzschild was stationed. The Director of the Potsdam Observatory, was occurred in 1914, volunteered in the army, now calculated on a Schwarzschild as a Lieutenant trajectories of the field artillery – and in his free time, the consequences of Einstein’s theory. He came across the phenomenon that later became the black hole known. In January 1916, he published his calculations; just four months later, he died of an autoimmune disease, possibly exacerbated by the front.

The success of his Considerations, Schwarzschild did not live to see. But what he had actually discovered? According to Einstein’s theory of space can stretch like a rubber band, every body with mass deformed him. By this deformation, the orbits of other bodies will be affected; they move as if they were attracted by the mass, so Einstein explained the phenomenon of Gravitation.

Schwarzschild’s equations

Schwarzschild calculated now, is an extreme case: Is the density of a body is infinitely large, then it deforms the space around it so strongly, that nothing comes out of this environment, can escape. Light holds the speed record in the universe – can escape so great a mass. Such a Structure can introduce not a man, it is extremely complex – and four-dimensional. To illustrate this, is sometimes done so, as our universe is flat as the jumping bed of a trampoline. An infinitely small and infinitely dense object would be the Cloth in a funnel-shaped dent. Marbles, on the edge of the funnel placed into roles in it. It is, however, an Extra pulse, you can roll from the hopper, and his spell to escape. But the deeper objects in the funnel with its ever-steeper walls get, the lower your Chance, to escape. At some point no longer be able to set the fastest objects in the gap.

black childs greatest Triumph was that he was able to calculate the size of a Black hole. Thus, the extent of the contained matter is not meant to be (which is, according to the theory of infinitely small and dense), but that area of matter around, from the no Information to the outside penetrates. Schwarzschild realized that the Black hole has an outer boundary: the place where the curvature of space (or: the slope of the funnel) is so strong that even light overcomes you.

This limit is called “event horizon”, because an external observer can not happen to look in this area to see what is in it. Already Schwarzschild realized that the event horizon is entirely dependent on the mass of the Black hole, it grows proportional with her. A black hole in space would observe, then, that they saw no funnel, and no hole, but a black ball, whose diameter corresponds to the event horizon.

Black holes are bizarre objects: parts of the universe, cut off from the Rest completely, from which nothing penetrates to the outside, where the space on the extreme type of curved. For a long time they were regarded merely as a mathematical Curiosity of a difficult to understand theory. That there are they actually, seemed unthinkable. But then, astronomers discovered from the 1970s on, more and more phenomena, which they could only explain by such an extremely compact and heavy object. Today it is clear: Black holes abound out there. Also in our vicinity. In the middle of our milky way, 26, 500 light-years from earth, whirling gigantic amounts of stars and Gas around an invisible object, spellbound by a tremendous force. Star the object is too close, you will be rubbed. The object in the center is not observed, but the radius Chaos its properties determine: its small size, just a few dozen suns in size, it combines the mass of 4.1 million suns. Such an extremely dense object can be according to our present theories, only a supermassive black hole. Its official Name: Sagittarius A* (the “*” is part of the name!)

In the middle of a black hole

sitting in The milky way is not a special case: In the middle of every galaxy is a black hole sits. It forms as it were an anchor, it holds the Star cluster. Without gravity, the galaxies could not exist perhaps.

Historic day for astronomy “an Important Moment for all of us” – as researchers the first image of a Black hole

so Far, there were Black holes, only the illustrations. Now astronomers have made the first image. There are eight observatories were equally necessary.


And Sagittarius A* is not alone in the milky way: the 60 other, smaller Black holes have already been discovered in our home galaxy. In 2018, a Team led by Chuck Hailey of the New York’s Columbia University is highly expected that there are perhaps 10 000 Black holes in the milky way. A cause for concern but this is not: you would be still many light-years from us, otherwise we would have noticed you for a long time. In addition, Black holes are not monsters that devour everything in their vicinity: their gravity is not stronger than that of stars of the same mass. To be a Black hole is threatened, we must come to him very close.

How did all of these Black holes? In principle, a body must be compressed below the size of its event horizon to become a Black hole. For example, the mass of the sun would have to be compressed to the size of a ball of six kilometres in diameter, the earth on a diameter of 1.7 inches. Under normal circumstances, this is impossible: the electromagnetic forces between the atoms prevent that matter has to be summarized so far. However, under extreme conditions, such as in the big Bang, it is different.


The previously known Black holes are the Remnants of a former star. If huge star, heavier than 40 suns, burned at the end of your life time, your energy, your matter under its own weight, is compacted into an ever-smaller clumps, until the size is reached, which corresponds to the event horizon of the star. From the outside, only the event horizon is, then, to see Inside the collapse goes even further: The Remains of the star are condensed to an infinitely small, infinitely dense object, a “singularity”, which curves the space infinity. So far the theory. “Physicists do not believe, however, that something as Absurd as a singularity really exists. In a finite world there can be nothing Infinite,” says Claus Kiefer, a theoretical physicist at the University of Cologne. “At this point Einstein’s theory breaks down.”

so, Although the theory of General relativity correctly predicted that Black holes exist, can not explain the theory, but the Interior of Black holes completely. The relativity theory arose, how the world works on a large scale: like the universe, how gravity works, and how galaxies and stars move. “In the Black hole and the big Bang, but the processes are held in the smallest of spaces,” explains pine. “This world is described by a different theory: quantum mechanics.” It is not surprising, therefore, that the relativity theory leads to nonsensical infinite results, where it moves into the realm of quantum theory. This was created to explain how atoms work, but not collapsing stars. “Inside the Black hole, relativity meet theory and quantum mechanics – we just don’t know how.”

Each of the two theories explains for a large part of the world. But they don’t fit together. Quantum mechanics does, as there is no gravity (this is not between the atoms is negligible), the theory of relativity-and-white once again, what is a Quant. In addition, the mathematical framework of both theories is different completely. You don’t understand simply as two people talking about completely different topics. In a variety of languages. “We want both theories to new, more fundamental combine, a theory of quantum gravity,” says pine, who has been researching itself to such theories. “Black holes play a key role on the search of quantum gravity.”

researchers are discovering, However, how do these new physics, if there is no Information escapes from the Black hole? Apparently, the frustrating fate of the scientists, that you stand in front of a black box and never know what is going on in your.

The Hawking-theory of Cosmology, Stephen Hawking – the man who understood the Black holes DPA

This would be the end of the story, would not have been published by Stephen Hawking in 1974 that the theory, which made him world famous. Already at the time of the motor neuron disease AS drawn physicists, the quantum mechanics on the event horizon. He discovered that every Black hole must have a temperature. Seemingly a triviality, after all, every thing in the universe any temperature. But what has a temperature emits heat radiation – the Black hole loses energy! And since energy, according to Einstein, is the same as mass, Black holes are always smaller and lighter, as long as you are not new matter, evaporate, literally.

“Hawking has shown that Black holes are not really a hundred percent black. You rays!”, pine says. The radiation forming at the event horizon. According to one popular model of thought there, as everywhere in the vacuum of space, particle pairs out of Nothing (P. M. 09/2018), the disappearing again. One of the Partner falls into the Black hole, the other outside, and no more can dissolve – it flies as Hawking radiation.

Hawking suggested with the projected radiation is a bridge between relativity and quantum mechanics. The Black hole proved to be a great candidate to explore the Interplay of relativity and quantum mechanics. And Hawking showed that Black holes are not the end of the cosmic food chain – at the end of the universe, they decay in a sea of light.

However, according to Hawking expected radiation is in the known Black holes are so weak that they had yet to observe – which is why the 2018 deceased, Hawking also on the Nobel prize remained failed. “Strangely enough, a black hole is colder, the bigger it is,” explains pine. “Big Black holes evaporate only very, very slowly. Such as in the Interior of our galaxy need to 1084 years.” In comparison: The universe is only the blood of young 1010 years old. It’s not worth it so, on the Evaporation of the super-massive Black holes to wait.

Simulation of a black hole

Some researchers do not seek, therefore, in All to the Hawking radiation – but in your laboratory. About the Israeli physicist Jeff Steinhauer: In his laboratory at the Technion in Haifa, he simulated 2016 a black hole. “I was fascinated by the idea. For seven years I worked on the Experiment,” says Steinhauer. It is based on an analogy: In a way, a black hole is like a waterfall, a fish up to swim. No matter how much he struggles: If the water falls faster, as the fish comes in the water forward, tear the flood of the fish in the deep. It is also light in the Black hole that is dragged by the curvature of space faster and faster into the Black hole, as it can spread.

Instead of the fish in the water under the quarryman sound waves, which spread in a Fluid of Rubidium atoms was looking for. So that the heat interfered with the Experiment, it was cooled to just a billionth of a degree Kelvin, i.e. almost to absolute zero. “Within the fluid, we created an area in which this float is slower than the speed of sound, and an adjacent area in which it flowed faster. Here, the sound waves no longer were against the current,” explains Steinhauer. “The border between the areas was similar to the event horizon.” And indeed, In this limit, the researchers observed sound waves, the fit of self-created, and to say Hawking’s prediction. “We were able to show that Hawking’s idea, and his accounts were perfectly correct.”

a few months Ago, Steinhauer was able to prove that his artificial black hole has exactly the temperature that Hawking has calculated. As close as a stone-no one came to even a Black hole. However, he himself says: “A proof that the Hawking radiation occurs even in the case of Black holes in the universe, is still.”

Claus Kiefer Cologne is not Steinhauer’s Experiment is interesting, but believes that such analogy-experiments will reveal the secret of cosmic Black holes. He hopes, rather, that astronomers find clues to the Hawking radiation. Should be short after the big Bang, small Black holes were created, they could be now evaporated – the Echo of your death, would halls through space. New telescopes should keep then in the future look out for.

Through these echoes can be used in quantum gravity to investigate. “The final stage of the evaporation, we are not able to describe, in the context of today’s physics,” explains pine. “If the Black hole shrinks, it is sometime important, what is going on in its Interior.” As the Black hole at the Moment of his death would lift for a brief Moment, the veil and its mystery.

Frank Ohme from the LIGO Experiment hopes that gravitational wave detectors will one day find evidence of new physics. “The collision of two Black holes is a brutal, highly dynamic process. She puts Einstein’s theory to the test.” He studied in his simulations, therefore, Alternatives to the theory of relativity. “There are countless theories. Some of them predict slight differences in the sequence of the collisions.” But even Einstein’s theory always provides the better predictions – even after 100 years.

allowed If the detectors are sensitive, so, hopes Ohme, one day fine deviations to Einstein’s theory of measure. The physicist must always better, and equipment to build those signals to capture the universe in the direction of earth traversing. Because the future of physics is already on its way to us.

The article comes from the P. M. magazine