IIT-H researchers, as part of the Indian Pulsar Timing Array (InPTA) consortium, have found evidence for ultra-low frequency gravitational waves originating from a large number of ‘dancing monster black hole pairs’ more than a million times the size of the Sun.
The researchers, part of an international team of astronomers from India, Japan, and Europe, has published results from monitoring ‘pulsars’, nature’s best clocks, using six of the world’s most sensitive radio telescopes, including the country’s largest telescope uGMRT, said an official release on Wednesday.
These results provide a hint of evidence for the relentless vibrations of the fabric of the universe and are a crucial milestone in opening a new, astrophysically rich window in the gravitational wave spectrum. Such ‘dancing monster black hole pairs’, expected to lurk in the centres of colliding galaxies, create ripples in the fabric of cosmos, and astronomers call them ‘nano-hertz’ gravitational waves as their wavelengths can be many lakhs of crores of kilometres.
The relentless cacophony of gravitational waves from a large number of supermassive black hole pairs creates a persistent humming of our universe. The team, consisting of members of the European Pulsar Timing Array (EPTA) and Indian Pulsar Timing Array (InPTA) consortia, published their results in two papers in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal.
These results include an analysis of pulsar data collected over 25 years with six of the world’s largest radio telescopes. The IIT-H team which took part in this discovery consists of faculty in the department of physics and department of AI Shantanu Desai, research student Aman Srivastava, engineering students Divyansh Kharbanda, Swetha Arumugam and Pragna Mamdipaka.
IIT-H has been part of InPTA since 2018, and some of the past InPTA students from are pursuing higher studies in astrophysics and related industries. “I am delighted that the state-of-the-art ‘NSM Param Seva’ computing facility at IIT-H has helped to create these path-breaking results. This achievement also underscores the power of collaboration in attaining scientific benchmarking results’,said director B.S. Murthy.
The InPTA experiment involves researchers from NCRA (Pune), TIFR (Mumbai), IIT (Roorkee), IISER (Bhopal), IIT (Hyderabad), IMSc (Chennai) and RRI (Bengaluru) along with colleagues from Kumamoto University, Japan. More details can be found at https://inpta.iitr.ac.in/, added the release.