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8.11.20
Elvis Lives

Signal From Deep Space Perfectly Harmonizes With Elvis Song

April 20th 20__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Hard Science
ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser/Victor Tangermann

Galactic Singalong

The physicists at LIGO detected more gravitational waves. And this time, they say, the waves resonate at the perfect frequency to harmonize with an Elvis Presley song.

The waves formed a perfect fifth, Science Magazine reports, meaning they sync with the opening notes of Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

The two notes are a particularly unusual pairing for gravitational waves, the LIGO researchers say — but one that could help them understand how black holes form in the first place.

Balls of Fire

Scientists detected the waves last April, but only just presented their analysis at this month’s online American Physical Society meeting and are now awaiting academic publishing, Science reports.

When a pair of orbiting black holes creates gravitational waves, they usually emanate at a single frequency. Picking up two notes suggests one black hole is significantly more massive than the other, which raises the question of how the two came together to form a binary system in the first place.

“Einstein Prevails”

The scientists are considering two ideas: that the black holes originated from two stars that were already orbiting each other and then collapsed, or that the two black holes happened to travel near each other after forming independently, Science reports.

But they do know that the bizarre resonance matches not only Elvis’ music, but also Einstein’s predictions for how such a pair of black holes would behave.

“Einstein prevails again,” LIGO physicist Maximiliano Isi told Science.

READ MORE: Gravitational waves reveal unprecedented collision of heavy and light black holes [Science Magazine]

More on gravitational waves: Physicists Detect Gravitational Waves From Newborn Black Hole