Black hole shock: Astronomers spy black hole SWALLOWING neuton star

21 Août, 2019, 04:38 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Black hole shock: Astronomers spy black hole SWALLOWING neuton star

At first, it looked like the objects were in the so-called "mass gap", meaning they were too small to be black holes and too large to be neutron stars. However, they were not directly observed until 2015 when LIGO (Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) made a historic finding by detecting the gravitational waves created by a pair of colliding black holes.

Astronomers are confident that they've just detected the first black hole gobbling up a neutron star, with one slight but intriguing possibility that the swallowed object was a very light black hole-"much lighter than any other black hole we know about in the Universe". Neutron stars and black holes are the unimaginably-dense remains of dead stars.

In April, gravitational wave observatories in the USA and Europe reignited a search for extreme cosmic events.

Artist's illustration of a black hole swallowing a neutron star. The beams cancel each other out if they bounce back unaltered, but gravitational waves cause tiny fluctuations that produce a signal.

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"Strange Glow" -Neutron Stars or Dark Matter Source of Odd Light At Milky Way's Center? However, he added, "It's not certain yet, and while I'd say it's probably going to be a neutron star, I just want to underline the uncertainty".

The objects could be a neutron star binary; that is, the fiery merger between two neutron stars, which are the collapsed cores of massive stars. By studying these systems, "we can learn a lot about the physics that goes into forming neutron stars and black holes, so it's another step towards completing our understanding of how these binary systems evolve and form", Berry said. It could also be a black hole binary.

The types of waves that LIGO and Virgo detect are given off only by violent cosmic events such as supernova explosions and cataclysmic collisions. While this is not what the team discovered last week, it shows the fascinating way in which the ever-elusive black holes behave in our universe. Gravitational-wave astronomers can also study slight distortions in the signal detected by LIGO and Virgo, but, as Berry mentioned, this method is very hard. "The ANU SkyMapper Telescope responded to the detection alert and scanned the entire likely region of space where the event occurred, but we've not found any visual confirmation".

While the final results of their observations are yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal-and thus can not be confirmed-the scientists say that the gravitational waves likely originated from a black hole-neutron star merger due to the size of the two objects involved.

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