Physicists Argue That Black Holes From the Big Bang Could Be the Dark Matter

Within weeks of the first gravitational wave announcement from LIGO in 2016, the primordial black hole hypothesis roared back to life. But the following year, Yacine Ali-Haïmoud came out with his argument that primordial black holes would be colliding far too often, which gave proponents a major hurdle to overcome. Karsten Jedamzik took up the challenge. During a long vacation in Costa Rica, he went after Ali-Haïmoud’s argument. Ali-Haïmoud had done his work analytically, through equations. But when Jedamzik created numerical simulations of the same problem, he found a twist. Primordial black holes would indeed form binaries. But Jedamzik concluded that in a universe teeming with black holes, a third black hole would often approach the initial pair and change places with one of them. This process would repeat again and again. Over time, this swinging from partner to partner would leave binary black holes with almost circular orbits. These partners would be incredibly slow to collide. Even a huge population of primordial black holes would merge so infrequently that the entire hypothesis would still fit within LIGO’s observed merger rate.

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