Metaculus Help: Spread the word
If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
Detection of gravitational waves from supermassive black hole merger in 10 years?
The Nobel Prize-winning detection of gravitational waves added a new observational tool for astronomers to use in studying celestial events. But an as-yet-unobserved phenomenon would make all the gravitational wave detections so far seem like small potatoes.
When two galaxies merge, the supermassive black holes at their centers would merge as well, and the process would emit gravitational waves. But the wavelength of those waves would be undetectable by the LIGO observatory. They're best detected by pulsar.
Pulsars emit electromagnetic radiation at regular intervals. A gravitational wave would slightly change the distance from the Earth to a pulsar, and thus slightly change the pulsar's timing as well.
In a paper in Nature Astronomy, astronomers use observation data and models of supermassive black hole merger events to conclude that we should be able to detect such an event within the next 10 years. If we don't, it could indicate that our hypotheses about these large black hole mergers need some refinement.
Will the merger of supermassive black holes be detected by gravitational wave observation within the next 10 years?
This question will resolve as positive if by November 30, 2027, a peer-reviewed publication announces the results of such an event. Statistical significance should be at the 4-sigma or equivalent level.
(edit 1/1017) November 30 is now a publication date rather than data cutoff date.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
This question is not yet open for predictions.
Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.