Deep space black holes discovered preying on neutron stars

Shariq TahirWeb Editor

01st Jul, 2021. 12:50 pm
Deep space black holes discovered preying on neutron stars

On January 5, 2020, astrophysicists detected a chirp from 900 million light-years away in the cosmos. The brief sound was unlike anything they’d ever heard before, and it was created by a massive ripple in space-time – a gravitational wave – that spread out over the universe from over 900 million light-years away, washing over the Earth and pinging detectors.

Then, 10 days later, they heard a similar sound. A cosmic twin. Gravitational waves had pinged Earth’s detectors once more.

The two signals have been identified as coming from extreme, never-before-seen occurrences in deep space: the collision of a black hole and a neutron star.

The pair of collisions of a black hole and neutron star (or, less poetically, “mergers”) are detailed in new research published on Tuesday in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, involving over 1,000 scientists from the LIGO/Virgo and KAGRA collaborations, a worldwide effort to search for gravitational waves.

The two recently described events, GW200105 and GW200115, are named after the dates they were discovered and provide the first conclusive evidence of an elusive merger.

Prior to this discovery, scientists had only discovered black holes merging with other black holes and neutron stars merging with other neutron stars.

On the other hand, twelve gamma-ray hotspots indicate that our galaxy contains powerful particle accelerators.

Extremely intense light from space is a mystery. Scientists aren’t sure where that light comes from. Astronomers have recently discovered this light, known as gamma rays, at higher energies than ever before.

Gamma rays cannot be seen with the naked eye. They have a far higher energy level than visible light. So you’ll need a high-tech detector to detect them. The Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory, or LHAASO, is a Chinese experiment. It searches for gamma rays with exceptionally high energies.

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