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Tue Jun 23, 2020, 05:00 PM

Scientists just found the biggest neutron star (or smallest black hole) yet in a strange cosmic coll

Scientists just found the biggest neutron star (or smallest black hole) yet in a strange cosmic collision
By Meghan Bartels 2 hours ago

Whatever it is, scientists are excited.

Astrophysicists have spotted the strangest gravitational-wave signal yet, an observation that could force scientists to rewrite what they know about the cosmos.

Gravitational waves form when massive objects distort spacetime surrounding them and send ripples out across the universe. Scientists caught the first-ever detection of such waves, formed by two colliding black holes, in 2015.

Since then, gravitational wave detections have only gotten stranger and scientists have only gotten more excited. Now, a group of researchers has announced the first detection of a gravitational-wave signal created by a collision involving an object larger than the largest known neutron star but smaller than the smallest known black hole. Although the detection is too complicated for scientists to ever hope to pin down precisely what happened, the signal raises hopes for more strange observations to come. This detection could even herald a new understanding of how massive stellar explosions called supernovas happen.

"It's a fantastic event, it will really change how we understand the formation of black holes and neutron stars," Christopher Berry, a gravitational wave astronomer at Northwestern University and the University of Glasgow and co-author on the new research, told Space.com. "It will remain a mystery until we can get more observations, but that doesn't mean it's not informative."


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Reply Scientists just found the biggest neutron star (or smallest black hole) yet in a strange cosmic coll (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jun 23 OP
Judi Lynn Jun 24 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jun 24, 2020, 02:49 AM

1. 'Black neutron star' discovery changes astronomy

By Pallab Ghosh
Science correspondent
23 June 2020

Scientists have discovered an astronomical object that has never been observed before.

It is more massive than collapsed stars, known as "neutron stars", but has less mass than black holes.

Such "black neutron stars" were not thought possible and will mean ideas for how neutron stars and black holes form will need to be rethought.

The discovery was made by an international team using gravitational wave detectors in the US and Italy.

Charlie Hoy, a PhD student from Cardiff University, UK, involved in the study, said the new discovery would transform our understanding.

"We can't rule out any possibilities," he told BBC News. "We don't know what it is and this is why it is so exciting because it really does change our field."


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