Researchers Just Detected a Black Hole Devouring a Neutron Star

07 Mai, 2019, 07:24 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Researchers Just Detected a Black Hole Devouring a Neutron Star

If the finding is confirmed, it could aid in our understanding of how gravitational waves form and our knowledge of the inner working of neutron stars.

The discoveries kicked off a new field of astronomy involving gravitational waves, CNN said. "The rate of neutron star merger candidates being found with LIGO and Virgo will give more opportunities to search for the explosions over the next year".

The detectors work by picking up the minute ripples in the fabric of space and time that roll across the universe when two massive objects collide. They are about 12 miles wide, and a teaspoon of neutron star material has a mass of about a billion tonnes. Because only two of the three detectors registered the signal, estimates of the location in the sky from which it originated were not precise, leaving astronomers to survey almost one-quarter of the sky for the source.

LIGO has already observed pairs of black holes colliding and recently observed two neutron stars colliding as well.

Astronomers are now hunting to see if they can pinpoint light coming from the collision.

In the future, the gravitational wave detectors could be capable of finding distant supernovas as well as signals from spinning neutron stars.

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'The latest LIGO-Virgo observing run is proving to be the most exciting one so far, ' said LIGO Executive Director and California Institute of Technology physicist David Reitze. If it holds up, this would be a trifecta for LIGO and Virgo-in three years, we'll have observed every type of black hole and neutron star collision. "But we've learned that claims of detections require a tremendous amount of painstaking work-checking and rechecking-so we'll have to see where the data takes us". Since the beginning of their third observational campaign on 1 April, the detectors have also spotted three black hole mergers. Studying black hole mergers is important because the gravitational waves these produce warp the space-time continuum.

On 25 April 2019, they heard gravitational waves from a crash between two neutron stars 500 million light years away. Only one of the twin LIGO facilities reportedly picked up the signal of this collision, along with Virgo. "Unfortunately, the signal is rather weak", Patrick Brady, spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, said during a teleconference on Thursday.

One day after The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory made his discovery, scientists detected another legendary collison This collision might be in fact one between a black hole and a neutron star. Vitale said events that seem to have an object in that mass gap are high priority for follow-up observations so we can better understand what's going on there.

It is hoped the data will eventually reveal whether the neutron star was torn apart before crossing the black hole's event horizon or whether it was seamlessly sucked into annihilation.

"It's like listening to somebody whisper a word in a busy cafe", explained Brady, "it can be hard to make out the word or even to be sure that the person whispered at all". "It will take some time to reach a conclusion about this candidate".

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