The term “kilonova” might sound good if you’re looking for ways of calling an evil video game boss, but you surely wouldn’t want to be anywhere near it in reality. A kilonova is when two neutron stars merge or when a neutron star collides with a black hole. It’s obvious that such a collision would be pretty devastating for the space surroundings.
According to SciTechDaily.com, the kilonova designated GW170817 is suspected of having generated a blast powerful enough that it was intercepted as a sonic boom by astronomers. This kilonova is believed to be the result of a collision between two neutron stars, and luckily for all of us, it’s located very far away.
Kate Alexander from Northwestern University and a co-author of the study, spoke about the importance of finding the kilonova, as SciTechDaily.com quotes:
Further study of GW170817 could have far-reaching implications,
The detection of a kilonova afterglow would imply that the merger did not immediately produce a black hole. Alternatively, this object may offer astronomers a chance to study how matter falls onto a black hole a few years after its birth.
Black holes remain among the most mysterious objects in the Universe, and astronomers are indeed willing to learn more about these objects. Black holes are peculiar for many reasons, and one of them is that you can’t directly see one. That’s because these cosmic monsters have such strong gravity that they attract anything that comes too close, even light itself.
Some astronomers even believe that there are as many black holes in the Milky Way galaxy as there are stars, meaning that there’s a lot of material good for studying.
As for the GW170817 kilonova, astronomers will keep monitoring it using both X-rays and radio waves.