Black Hole May Have Swallowed Neutron Star, claims Physicists

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This possible collision between a neutron star and a black hole may have occurred 1.2 billion light-years away from our planet.

National Science Foundation’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) may have discovered the first ever observed merger between a neutron star and a black hole. Previously, LIGO had observed pairs of black holes colliding and recently it observed two neutron stars colliding. Such collisions of massive bodies involve large amounts of energy and actually warp spacetime, sending out gravitational waves that LIGO can detect. When the neutron stars collide, a burst of light is sent out along with gravitational waves.

Although it is difficult to find the exact location of these events due to the enormity of space, LIGO had assistance from the Virgo detector from Italy which covers a large proportion. Patrick Brady, spokesperson for LIGO said, “It’s like listening to somebody whisper a word in a busy cafe, it can be difficult to make out the word or even to be sure that the person whispered at all. It will take some time to reach a conclusion about this candidate.” The latest collision between neutron start and the black hole is referred to as S190426c, which has never been observed before. If these findings are confirmed, it would help us to understand how gravitational waves form and inner working of a neutron star.

The possible collision between a neutron star and black hole took place on April 26, 2019, which may have occurred 1.2 billion light-years away. “We’re already seeing hints of the first observation of a black hole swallowing a neutron star. If it holds up, this would be a trifecta for LIGO and Virgo — in three years, we’ll have observed every type of black hole and neutron star collision. But we’ve learned that claims of detections require a tremendous amount of painstaking work — checking and rechecking — so we’ll have to see where the data takes us,” says David H. Reitze of Caltech, Executive Director of LIGO.

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Bill Carr is a Senior Editor at Plains Gazette, based in Austin. Previously he has worked for FOX Sports and MSNBC's "Morning Joe." he is a graduate of the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. You can reach Bill via email or by phone