Almost a week ago, on August 14th, more specifically, our home planet has been bombarded by strong gravitational waves that had been estimated to come from nearly 900 million light-years away. More precisely, astronomers are sure that a black hole devouring a neutron star caused those waves.
Gravitational waves are disruptions in the curvature of space-time provoked by accelerated masses that spread as waves outward from their source at the speed of light. Henri Poincare and Albert Einstein were the first ones that predicted them but had been detected for the first time in 2015 by the LIGO and Virgo Scientific Collaboration with the help of the Advanced LIGO detectors.
The gravitational waves are the result of the impact of massive celestial objects, such as two black holes colliding or two neutron stars colliding.
What is impressive about the new signals detected by the observatory (LIDO) and the interferometer (Virgo) is that the recent gravitational waves are the result of a black hole colliding with a neutron star. It is the first event of this kind identified, and it left the astronomers in awe.
Black Hole Devouring A Neutron Star Spotted By Astronomers Thanks To Gravitational Waves
To be sure that the encounter is between a neutron star and a massive black hole, the astronomers had to measure the masses of each celestial object. Therefore, if the solar masses of both objects are between one and three, they are neutron stars. If the solar masses are more than five, they are black holes.
But in this case, one cosmic object had the solar mass of less than three, while the other one had the solar mass of more than five.
This can only mean that the objects that are smashing into each other are different cosmic objects.
It is worth mentioning that in April, astronomers detected another flush of gravitational waves of this kind, but they were so weak that they did not successfully determine the cause. Most likely, it was the same type of event – a black hole devouring a neutron star.