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Black hole gobbles up neutron star, causing ripples in space and time

Black hole gobbles up neutron star, causing ripples in space and time 86

In the same decade when gravitational waves and a neutron star merger have been observed, astronomers have now observed what they believe to be the first detection of a black hole swallowing a neutron star.

Last Wednesday, gravitational wave detectors in Italy and the US, called LIGO and Virgo, detected telltale ripples in space and time, traced to an event that happened 8,550 million trillion kilometers away from Earth.

Astronomers are analyzing the data from the detection to confirm the size of the two objects that came together to form such cataclysmic ripples, but the event is likely a black hole eating a neutron star.

“About 900 million years ago, this black hole ate a very dense star, known as a neutron star, like Pac-man — possibly snuffing out the star instantly,” said Susan Scott, leader of the General Relativity Theory and Data Analysis Group at Australian National University and chief investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery. “The ANU SkyMapper Telescope responded to the detection alert and scanned the entire likely region of space where the event occurred, but we’ve not found any visual confirmation.”

Essentially, black holes and neutron stars are the leftovers after stars die.

Neutron stars are the smallest in the universe, the remnants of supernovae. Their diameters are comparable to the size of a city like Chicago or Atlanta, but they are incredibly dense, with masses bigger than that of our sun.

When massive stars collapse at the end of their lives, they form an area of accelerating gravity so strong that nothing, including light, can escape it.

Like the other groundbreaking detections this decade, this new detection could provide more crucial evidence for previously unseen events that occur in space.

“We have always thought that there should be binary systems of a black hole and a neutron star circling each other out in space, so if this event is confirmed, it would be the first evidence that such systems do actually exist, and that some of them are spiraling closer and closer and eventually smashing together,” Scott said.

If the neutron star is not much smaller in mass than the black hole, the astronomers would expect more orbits to bring them closer together. This would shred the neutron star, creating electromagnetic signals that can be detected, Scott said. The signal would tell the astronomers about the properties of the star, hinting at their mysterious composition.

But if the masses of the two objects differ, the neutron star would likely be swallowed whole and not emit radiation. Because there hasn’t been a signal in the area where the event occurred, the researchers believe this is the scenario that occurred.

Astronomers want to learn the masses of the two objects. An object greater than five times the mass of the sun is considered a black hole. If it’s less than three times the mass of the sun, it’s a neutron star.

One potential small possibility is that the smaller object could be a very light black hole, Scott said, which would still be an exciting consolation prize.

“We are not aware of any black holes in the universe with masses less than about five solar masses,” Scott said. “This would raise many new questions such as, ‘how does such a light black hole form?’”

If the detection of the black hole swallowing the neutron star is confirmed, that would complete the detectors’ trifecta this decade, including gravitational waves and neutron star collisions.

Gravitational waves are ripples in space and time. Neutron star collisions release gravitational waves, light and heavy elements like gold.

Earlier this year after the gravitational wave detectors were turned on in April, scientists believe they may have detected the never-before-seen collision of a neutron star and a black hole, a collision between two neutron stars and three potential black hole mergers. The detectors’ observations are being regarded as candidates until further data can confirm them.

If this trifecta is complete, the researchers want to detect more systems, including black holes and neutron stars merging.

“We can better estimate the population size of these systems in the universe and also better understand how these systems ‘get together’ in the first place,” Scott said. “On the extended wish list we would soon hope to have a supernova which goes off somewhere close so that we can capture the expected gravitational waves from this type of event and better model the supernova process.”

The detection teams are also working on a way to detect the result of two neutron stars that briefly create a bigger neutron star when they collide. It’s possible that this bigger neutron star would be short-lived, but any detection from it could inform the astronomers about the collision process for neutron stars and their structure.

Source edition.cnn.com

Space

In December, Earth’s inhabitants will be able to see a rare cosmic phenomenon

In December, Earth's inhabitants will be able to see a rare cosmic phenomenon 93

At the end of the year, astronomers expect to see a rare cosmic phenomenon dubbed the “Christmas star” in the sky. It will be caused by the fact that Saturn and Jupiter come close to each other at a minimum distance and almost collide to become one super-bright point of light.

These two planets became one straight line in the solar system a few weeks ago, but at the end of December they will be on it for observers from Earth. This will happen on December 21, 2020, on the day of the winter solstice, when the daylight hours are the shortest and the night is the longest. Jupiter and Saturn will look like a “double planet” for the first time since the Middle Ages, Forbes writes.

“The conjunctions of the two planets are extremely rare, but this particular conjunction is especially rare because the planets will be very close to each other,” Patrick Hartigan, astronomer at Rice University, USA said. “In order to observe a closer conjunction of these planets in the night sky, we would have to return on March 4, 1226.”

It is noted that the unusual celestial phenomenon can be observed from anywhere on the planet. The main thing is that the sky is clear. The “Christmas Star” can be seen in the western sky about an hour after sunset when viewed from the northern hemisphere.

“On the evening of their closest approach, December 21, they will appear as a twin planet, separated by less than 1/5 the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan said. “For most amateur astronomers looking at the night sky through a telescope, both planets and several of their largest satellites will be in the same field of view this evening.”

In December, Earth's inhabitants will be able to see a rare cosmic phenomenon 94

Those who want to see Jupiter and Saturn converge in the sky as close, but will be higher above the horizon, will have to wait until March 15, 2080, Hartigan said. After that, a similar configuration for this planetary pair will not be observed until 2400.

Astronomers are already preparing equipment to analyze in detail the upcoming event. Everything is very serious, because the second such rapprochement between Jupiter and Saturn cannot be expected.

Of course, there will not be a collision of planets. You just get the impression that something terrible is about to happen in the solar system. Astronomers have assured that there is no reason to worry.

Is the “Christmas Star” an omen of things to come? Mark your calendars! 

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Space

A giant asteroid worth $ 17.4 billion is approaching Earth

A giant asteroid worth $ 17.4 billion is approaching Earth 95

NASA announced the imminent flight of a potentially dangerous asteroid will pass the Earth. The website of the Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects says that a celestial body ranging in size from 370 to 820 meters will approach the planet on November 29.

The asteroid, consisting of nickel, iron and cobalt, is approaching the Earth. The cost of minerals in its composition reaches $ 17.4 billion, with reference to the Asterank database, which contains data on 600 thousand asteroids.

The distance between the asteroid 153201 (2000 WO107) and the Earth will be more than 4 million kilometers, the Space Reference specified with reference to NASA data. It is noted that the distance from the Earth to the Moon is 10 times less, and the asteroid is considered dangerous because it crosses the orbit of our planet.

According to the NASA Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects, the celestial body will approach the Earth on November 29. 

It is noted that this time the asteroid does not pose a threat to the planet, however, it belongs to the group of potentially dangerous ones, since its trajectory crosses the Earth’s orbit.

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Space

Intrusive buzzing. The Perseverance rover recorded the space sounds of its flight to Mars

Intrusive buzzing. The Perseverance rover recorded the space sounds of its flight to Mars 96

NASA’s new rover is equipped with a microphone to record sounds during landing on the Red Planet.

NASA’s Perseverance rover, which is en route to Mars, has recorded its flight to the planet.

The new rover is equipped with a microphone designed to record sound when entering the atmosphere, descent and landing. The device should arrive on the Red Planet in February 2021.

But before the rover reached its destination, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) released an audio file recording what the rover “hears” during its interplanetary voyage.

The 60-second recording, posted on SoundCloud, was captured on Oct.19 while checking the rover’s EDL and microphone system.

Experts explain that the buzzing sound comes from a pump that pumps fluid to regulate the rover’s temperature.

NASA compares the new hit for your playlist to the noise you hear on wired headphones when the wire rubs against your clothing. It was these mechanical vibrations that the Perseverance microphone picked up.

“Located at the rear of the starboard side of the Perseverance, the pump is part of the unit’s heat system that maintains operating temperatures for the equipment, even in the coldest locations,” JPL said in a statement.

“I apologize to the person who came up with the slogan for the film” Alien “(” No one in space will hear your scream “- ed.), Perhaps no one will hear the scream, but perhaps a pump to remove heat will be heard,” says a leading engineer at JPL Dave Gruel.

He added that the microphone picks up the hum of the pump through mechanical vibration.

The Perseverance rover is supposed to land on Mars on February 18, 2021 in the Jezero crater – it is believed that a riverbed used to pass through this area. This is one of those places where traces of living organisms on the planet could be preserved.

The main mission of the rover is to detect signs of life in order to advance the study of the ancient history of Mars. In addition, the device will become part of a mission to deliver samples from the surface of the red planet: it will dig out rock at certain points, and then another device will pick them up, which will send them to Earth.

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