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LIGO’s black holes may be dark matter

Analysis of gravitational wave detection suggests primordial origin of merging masses

By
7:00am, August 7, 2016
illustration of black holes

DARK DETECTION The black holes LIGO detected could be dark matter, in the form of primordial black holes that formed in the infant universe.

The black holes that produced the first detected gravitational waves may have exotic origins in the early universe.

When the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, LIGO, glimpsed gravitational waves from two merging black holes, scientists were surprised at how large the black holes were — about 30 times the mass of the sun (SN: 3/5/16, p. 6). Inspired by this unusual finding, two papers published in Physical Review Letters propose that the hefty black holes were born in the universe’s infancy.

Unlike run-of-the-mill black holes that form from collapsing stars, such primordial black holes could have formed when dense regions of the very early universe collapsed under their own gravity, some theories suggest. If they exist, primordial black holes could also solve another puzzle: the identity of dark matter, the

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