Scientists have detected two collisions between a neutron star and a black hole in 10 days.
Researchers predicted that such conflicts would occur, but did not know how often.
Observations may mean that some thoughts about how stars and galaxies are formed may need to be modified.
Professor Vivien Raymond of Cardiff University told BBC News that the amazing results were excellent.
“We have to go back to the drawing board and rewrite the theory,” he said enthusiastically.
“We learned a little lesson again. When we assume something, we tend to prove wrong after a while. So we open our hearts and the universe is me. You have to see what you are saying to us. “
A black hole is a celestial body with such strong gravity, and even light cannot escape. Neutron stars are incredibly dense dead stars. A teaspoon of matter from a neutron star is estimated to weigh about 4 billion tons.
Both objects are space monsters, but black holes are much larger than neutron stars.
In the first collision detected on January 5, 2020, a black hole 6.5 times the mass of the Sun collided with a neutron star 1.5 times the mass of its parent star. In the second collision, which was picked up just 10 days later, 10 solar-mass black holes fused with two solar-mass neutron stars.
When objects as large as these collide, ripples occur in the structure of space called gravitational waves. And it is these ripples that the researchers have detected.
Researchers look back on previous observations with a fresh eye, and many of them may have been similar discrepancies.
So why is this latest conflict important other than completing the set?
This is because, according to current theory and past observations, neutron stars tend to be discovered and collide with other neutron stars. And the same should be true for black holes.
However, the collision of two neutron stars with a black hole in the Astrophysical Journal Letters can challenge that general idea.
Instead, they may be leaning towards another set of theories that assume that black holes and neutron stars are actually found in each other. These alternative theories also imply that stars and galaxies were formed in a way different from the pictures drawn by the standard view of how the universe was formed.
None of the above ideas fully explain our observations of the universe. But, according to Dr. Raymond, many of them can be tweaked to better suit what we know.
Professor Sheila Rowan of the University of Glasgow told BBC News that observations of the types and frequencies of black hole and neutron star collisions over the past six years have created a more detailed picture of galaxy dynamics than ever before. It was.
“This all gives us a rich picture of stellar evolution. This latest observation shows us what is in the universe and how it became so. It’s another first thing to understand, “she said.
The collision was detected by measuring the waves caused by the sudden changes in gravity that occur when two giant objects collide. These are the ripples in the structure of the space itself, as if the stones were still thrown into the pond.
These so-called gravitational waves traveled in space for hundreds of millions of light years and were picked up by detectors in Washington and Louisiana in the United States and Birgo detectors in central Italy. Together, they form a collaboration with the Advanced Optical Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (ALIGO).
By the time they reach us, the ripples are small, smaller than the width of the atom. The detector itself is one of the most sensitive devices ever built.
In the future, the team hopes to detect neutron star-black hole collisions, which are also observed by telescopes both in space and on the ground. This gives scientists more information about the super-heavy materials from which neutron stars are made.
The ALIGO collaboration consists of more than 1,300 scientists from 18 countries and includes researchers from 11 UK universities.
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