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Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Science https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ The ripples in space and time suggest that a black hole engulfs a neutron star

The ripples in space and time suggest that a black hole engulfs a neutron star



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Black hole, meet a neutron star. A neutron star, it's a black hole. Play nice.


Carl Knox / OzGrav ARC Center of Excellence

Astronomers observing space for faint ripples in space time may have discovered a black hole engulfing a neutron star for the first time. Gravity wave observations in the US and Europe were re-included after the April 1935 upgrades to search for these extreme cosmic events, and have since uncovered 23 potential cosmic oscillations. The latest is probably the most exciting so far – and also potentially the most puzzling.

The event, designated S190814bv, was detected on 14 August by the finely tuned LIGO dual detector lasers in the US and the Virgin Detector in Italy. The devices rippled in the fabric of the universe and were presumed to be the result of a collision between a black hole and a small dense star known as a "neutron star."

The facilities see a potential black hole-neutron collisions in the past, but none have been adequately verified. Since returning in April, only three candidates for this insane type of space collision have been presented with varying levels of confidence. This is because the detectors are so well tuned that they sometimes signal noise as real events.

For S190814bv, the probability of the newly detected signal to be noise-only is 1 in 10 septillion years.

This would even rule out Han Solo believing that the S190814bv is anything but a fusion of a neutron star and a black hole, but researchers still urge caution. They can be two merging black holes.

This creates an exciting opportunity for one of the black holes to be lighter than any black hole we've seen before. We can't lose!

If the event is confirmed as a neutron fusion with a star-black hole, it will complete the trifecta of the cosmic discoveries of LIGO and Virgo. The facilities have seen black holes merge with black holes and neutron stars merge with neutron stars but they have never seen the two erase with each other.

The next step is to focus the telescopes on the small stretch of sky S190814bv came from. It is relatively close, by space standards, only 900 million light-years away. Gravity waves compete faster than other electromagnetic waves, giving astronomers a chance to try and detect other signals emitted by the event. What will we see?

"We will see a neutron star be torn from a black hole, or be swallowed up by targets like a Pak-Man ghost absorbing," says Simon Stevenson, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, "Anyway, we're in show! "


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