Funny things happen in supernova explosions. Funny and complicated. If the star is too massive, the explosion is unstable. The black hole it formed it not as massive as it could have been. In gravitational-wave astronomy, this means that we should not observe black holes heavier than about 50 solar masses. This does not apply, of course, to black holes that are not formed from stars, but from other black holes (yes! more black holes!). If black holes resulting from older gravitational wave events somehow stick around, they could be recycled in other generations of mergers. We point out that this can work only if their astrophysical environment is dense enough. Can we measure the escape speed of black holes “nurseries” using gravitational-wave events that should not be there because of supernova instabilities?
Davide Gerosa, Emanuele Berti.
Physical Review D Rapid Communications 100 (2019) 041301R.
Press release: Birmingham.
Other press coverage: Scientific American, astrobites, interestingengineering, metro.co.uk, Media INAF (Italian), Great Lakes Ledger, sciencealert, sciencetimes, mic.com.