Scientists have detected two neutron stars collided with one another that answers some long-sought mysteries of the Universe. The collision occurred 130 million light years from the planet Earth in the southern constellation of Hydra.
The discovery was detected for the first time ever by LIGO and Virgo collaborations on August 17, 2017. It is designated as GW170817 and called a “kilonova” event. Each neutron star was about 12 miles in diameter and had a mass of about twice that of the Sun. As these two neutron stars collided, they have shaken the fabric of the universe and distorted and stretched the spacetime, according to Independent.
The experts described the collision as the new chapter in astrophysics. Dr. Samantha Oates, from the University of Warwick, said that the discovery of the collision has resolved three questions that astronomers have been seeking for decades. These include the mysteries about what causes the short duration gamma-ray bursts, what happens when neutrons stars emerge, and where are the heavy elements like gold, made.
The astronomers said that the collision of the two neutron stars generated many of the heavy elements in the universe such as gold, silver, and uranium. Dr. Joe Lyman from the University of Warwick and one of the scientists in this discovery said that the exquisite observations obtained in a few days showed they were observing a kilonova, an object whose light is powered by intense nuclear reactions. He further said that this discovery reveals that heavy elements, like the gold or platinum in jewelry, are the cinders forged in the billion-degree remnants of merging neutron stars.
The explosion also strengthened the theories about the origin of the mysterious neutron stars. It also produced the first-time observance of the gravitational waves and light that was released in the form of a two-second gamma-ray burst, according to CNN.
The New York Times reports that the significant thing in this discovery was the detection of gravitational waves, which originates likes ripples in a pond that shake the cosmic fabric from the faraway galaxy. Albert Einstein foresaw that space and time could shake once things such as black holes moved around about centuries ago. These gravitational waves were just confirmed in 2016 when LIGO identified the sound of two huge black holes colliding.
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