Astronomers have discovered the strangest gravitational wave signal to date, according tomedia reports, and the discovery will help scientists rewrite their understanding of the universe. Gravitational waves form when a supermassive object distorts the surrounding space-time and releases ripples in the universe. In 2015, scientists first discovered gravitational waves formed by the collision of two black holes.
The latest gravitational wave observations show that the gravitational wave originated from a collision event with a serious asymmetry of mass.
Since then, the detection of gravitational waves has become increasingly alien, and scientists are eager to uncover the mystery, with a team claiming to have detected for the first time gravitational waves from collisions between objects larger than the largest known neutron star and smaller than the smallest known black hole. Although the discovery is too complex for scientists to pinpoint exactly what happened to the process, the signal offers more hope for astronomical observations, and even a sign that there will be an update on the future of supernova explosions.
The celestial collision events observed through gravitational waves are shown. At the bottom of the image shows objects the size of neutron stars, and at the top of the image shows objects the size of black holes, involving a black hole and a larger neutron star or a smaller black hole.
“This is a very fascinating thing that will really change our understanding of the formation of black holes and neutron stars, and it’s still a mystery until we can get more observations, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t provide much of a clue,” said study co-author Christopher Berry of Gravity Wave, a gravitational wave astronomer at Northwestern University. “
“We’re very confident in the observation, it’s a very beautiful signal, it’s a wonderful gravitational wave, and when I first saw it, I couldn’t believe it, it was amazing,” he said. “
On August 14, 2019, scientists observed gravitational waves, and when initial analysis suggested that the gravitational waves from the collision may have merged a black hole with a neutron star, they became more interested in the phenomenon. The collision of a black hole and a neutron star is a long-awaited gravitational wave event for scientists, as so far they have only observed collisions between black holes or between neutron stars.
But as astrophysicists analyzed the data more, they realized that more strange phenomena had been observed, and according to scientists’ analysis of the merger, one of the colliding objects, the black hole, had a mass about 23 times that of the sun and the other 2.6 times the mass of the sun.
The mystery of the quality gap
Scientists call the size gap between the two colliding objects a “mass difference”: the mysterious object is smaller than any black hole ever studied, but larger than any known neutron star, and has a mass about 2.5-5 times that of the sun.
The collision of black holes and neutron stars has been predicted for decades, but the strangely dense object has attracted the keen attention of scientists, said study co-author Vicky Kalogera, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University. Although we cannot determine the category of the object, we have observed either the heaviest neutron star or the lightest black hole, which in any case is a record.
In other cases, scientists have identified celestial bodies before they actually collide to produce observable gravitational waves, but not all of the observations are as expected, and this time scientists have not found any light signals that neutron stars may produce, but this does not rule out the possibility that they are neutron stars.
Pictured are two black holes depicted by the artist, one nine times larger than the other, which spirals against each other.
At the same time, unlike the black holes or neutron stars that scientists have studied so far, the two colliding objects have a large difference in mass, with larger objects nine times the mass of smaller objects, making it harder for scientists to observe the details of events from gravitational waves. ‘I think of the Bean Eater game, when the mass gap is large, the smaller dense object may be eaten by a black hole,’ Carlogra said in a statement.
Gravitational waves are difficult to study because the astronomical phenomenon is so far away from Earth that scientists have now observed that the gravitational wave event occurred in an area about 800 million light-years from Earth, six times the distance from which gravitational waves were observed in August 2017 when the merger of binary neutron stars produced gravitational waves.
Because of the many challenges of observing gravitational waves, to truly solve the mystery of the differences in mass of the universe’s gravitational wave objects, scientists need to observe more colliding objects, preferably those that are not complex collision events, preferably two objects with similar mass.
Berry points out that determining the fuzzy region between a neutron star and a black hole is not only for precise purposes, but also contributes to our understanding of the surrounding cosmic region.
First, gravitational waves tell scientists how neutron stars work, and Berry calls neutron stars “ultimate particle colliders” and neutron stars are difficult to model, Berry said: “We can’t simulate neutron stars on Earth, and their formation conditions are too harsh, but their properties will determine when the largest volume of neutron stars, i.e. large neutron stars, will expand and then collapse, a critical point that will be further validated in future observationstudies.”
Understanding the mass gap will have a major impact on astrophysics, which for decades has assumed that there is a mass gap between the largest neutron star and the smallest black hole, Berry said. If the quality gap is much smaller or non-existent than previously assumed, these models need to be adjusted. Adjusted models can change our understanding of the universe and gain a broader understanding than mass defines itself.
Whether or not the mystery of the mass gap is solved, the newly observed new signals point to the future of gravitational waves. “This proves that we’re just getting started using gravitational waves to explore the universe, we don’t know what else is going on in space, and now we’ve observed some of the more common astronomical phenomena and we know some typical examples of gravitational waves, but gravitational waves are still complex, just like mysterious rare animals hidden in the jungle, and we still have to work hard to find the answer,” Berry said. “
The latest study is currently published in the recently published journal Letters of Astrophysics.