Astronomers might have spotted a black hole gobbling up a neutron star

Katie Ramirez
August 21, 2019

This lets the pair orbit each other in closer proximity giving the black hole more opportunity to gravitationally shred the neutron star.

"Strange Glow" -Neutron Stars or Dark Matter Source of Odd Light At Milky Way's Center? The first gravitational wave was noticed in 2015 when the LIGO observatory picked up the signal of two black holes becoming one.

According to scientists, a black hole ripped a neutron star, after which absorbed its substance.

Over the past week, physicists have been buzzing over an August 14 detection made by the twin LIGO detectors in Hanford, Wash., and Livingston, La., as well as by the European Virgo gravitational-wave detector in Italy.

Scientists may have observed something that has never been seen before: a black hole swallowing a neutron star.

More than 30 scientists from The University of Western Australia's node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) are part of an worldwide team that for the first time may have witnessed the end of a neutron star as it was engulfed by a black hole.

The data was recorded by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), the most advanced instrument of its kind ever build that comprises twin detectors in the U.S., and Virgo, a gravitational-wave detector in Italy run by the European Gravitational Observatory.

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As of now, the scientists are still trying to analyze the data by merely verifying as to what gave rise to the tiny vibrations in deep space, the final frontier. This is happening for the very first time.

Subsequently, scientists have made further gravitational wave observations-most of which have originated from colliding black holes.

Scott said that the Australia National University SkyMapper Telescope had scanned the entire region of space where the event likely occurred, but no visual confirmation has yet been found.

Image at top of page: On March 28, 2011, NASA's Swift detected intense X-ray flares thought to be caused by a black hole devouring a star.

So, while the smaller object in this most recently detected binary is less than three solar masses, it might not be a neutron star. However, there is still a very slim chance the neutron star is just a black hole-the smallest on record-and that this event is just another merger of two black holes.

"We are not aware of any black holes in the universe with masses less than about five solar masses", Scott said.

Black holes are so dense and their gravitational pull is so strong that no form of radiation can escape them - not even light. Neutron star collisions release gravitational waves, light and heavy elements like gold. Witnessing the afterglow from the collision would propel astronomy into a different era marking the possibility to visually behold the innards of a neutron star for the very first time in history.

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