As pairs of black holes inspiral and merge, they create gravitational waves. These waves hold information about the environment in which the black holes are embedded: using future space-based gravitational-wave detectors, it will be possible to distinguish what kind of environment that is.
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This is a summary of: Cole, P. S. et al. Distinguishing environmental effects on binary black hole gravitational waveforms. Nat. Astron. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-023-01990-2 (2023).
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Gravitational waves could reveal the environment of inspiralling black holes. Nat Astron 7, 896–897 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-023-01992-0