Neutron star

R. HURT/MIT/CALTECH/LIGO (IPAC)

Mystery object observed in a collision with a black hole by LIGO and Virgo

A new discovery of collision between a black hole and a mystery object has recently been made. The object in question is speculated to be a neutron star but its size is not big enough to be considered a black hole.

This discovery was made last year on August 14 by the gravitational wave detectors LIGO and Virgo. It was first thought to be a collision between a black hole and a neutron star but new research and study on the gravitational waves suggest that the case might be different. A report published on June 23 shows that the black hole was 23 times as massive as the sun and it hit a dense body of about 2.6 solar masses. This means that it is heavier than a neutron star but also smaller than the lightweight black hole. What it really is, is still in speculation.

Usually, when stellar explosions occur, neutron stars form as the residues. But there is a limit to their size. The cap is placed at 2.5 solar masses because stars bigger than this limit can breakdown under their own weight. And theoretically, black holes of sizes less than five solar masses are possible, but no such observation has been made yet.

There are not enough clues and traces for astronomers in this collision to identify the object and its more intimate features. The observation made by U.S.-based Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, and its sister experiment in Italy, Advanced Virgo prompted other telescopes to hunt for more data, but they were not successful.

The lack of data may push towards the idea of considering this object to be a black hole because such collisions do not give off any light. At the same time, the neutron star hypothesis can also be an agreeable notion. The black hole may have devoured it in a way to be lost without a speck. According to Cole Miller, an astrophysicist at the University of Maryland in College Park, if the last sketch is true, “this means that [the pair of objects] had its moment of gravitational wave glory,” and bigger black hole forged in the collision is “doomed to wander the vast emptiness of space, probably never emitting another peep.”

Also Read: Black Hole In The Backyard

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