About 900 million years ago, a black hole probably engulfed a dead star. Last week, the ripples received in space and time were finally discovered on Earth.
If these scientific observations are to be confirmed, the cosmic collision would be the first example of a black hole colliding with a neutron star, possibly providing new information to expand the universe.
In April, observatories of gravitational waves in the United States and Europe reignited the search for extreme space events. Since then, astronomers have identified 23 potential events, but the latest will be the first of its kind.
The event, called S1
The neutron star is created after a supernova explosion and is extremely small and dense, consisting mainly of tightly packed neutrons. An average neutron star is about 1.5 times the mass of the sun, but its radius is only between 6 and 12 miles.
Three other similar events have been discovered over the last few months, but they may have been "noise" and not real events. In the case of S190814bv, scientists said the chance of a false alarm was one in trillions of years.
Although they are the most confident scientists, they still demand caution until the event is confirmed. The collision, for example, could be two merging black holes – still an exciting discovery of a black hole lighter than any seen before.
"There is a slight but intriguing possibility that the object absorbed was a very light black hole – much lighter than any other black hole we know in the universe," says Professor Susan Scott, head of General Theory and Data Relativity Analytical team at the Australian National University and Principal Investigator at the ARC Center of Excellence for Gravity Wave Detection. "That would be a really great consolation prize."
Astronomers are now working to confirm the size of the two objects that collapsed together to form space ripples. They also scan the area with telescopes, where they believe the event happened, looking for light that could be emitted by the merger.
LIGO first discovereda century after Albert Einstein first predicted their existence with his general theory of relativity.
black holes that merge together and merge together, but never an interaction between the two. Confirmation of the collision will complete the trifecta of space discoveries.
"We will see a neutron star tear apart from a black hole, or we will be swallowed whole by a ghost like Pak-Man," says Simon Stevenson, an astronomer with Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. "Anyway, we're in for a show ! ”