Astronomers Detect Collision Of Neutron Stars, Universe's 'Greatest Fireworks Show'

Astronomers Detect Collision Of Neutron Stars, Universe's 'Greatest Fireworks Show'”

For the first time, two nearby neutron stars smashed into each other, and scientists were able to detect light and gravitational waves from the collision. It took 130 million years for those waves to reach Earth on August 17.

The Aug 17 event set off sensors in space and on Earth, as well as produced a loud chirp in antennas created to study ripples in the cosmic fabric. "At the same time, there are hints in these observations that are providing new mysteries we still need to understand".

It also caused gravitational waves, a burst of light, and scattered heavy elements like gold and platinum across the universe. These stars are masses as great as the sun packed into a region the size of Manhattan brimming with magnetic and gravitational fields.

"For the first time, we have proof", said Northwestern University astronomer Vicky Kalogera.

Besides being the source for all of the universe's gold and platinum, scientists say neutron star collisions are also the source of uranium.

"The detection of a gravitational-wave source's light has revealed details of the event that can not be determined from gravitational waves alone".

Gravitational waves were discovered in 2015 and two weeks ago the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to the three leading scientists behind an global project which first detected the tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time.

For the researchers, this is in some ways an even bigger bonanza than the original discovery.

Many studies and research are expected to analyze and follow this first time ever event.

All of Ligo's previous finds have involved colliding black holes, which are composed of empty tortured space-time - there is nothing for the eye or telescope to see.

Einstein predicted gravitational waves over a century ago - he believed if you had two stars orbiting each other they would give off an intense burst just ahead of colliding.

The discovery filled a chink in the explanation of how the chemistry of the universe evolved from pure hydrogen and helium into today's diverse place.

'We have been working for years to predict what the light from a neutron merger would look like, ' said Daniel Kasen, an associate professor of physics and of astronomy at UC Berkeley and a scientist at Berkeley Lab. Behind this signal, which is different from those previously observed, two neutron stars about to merge.

Neutron stars are the densest form of stable matter known.

One of the most important discoveries was the... According to the studies, these mergers of neutron stars are " factories of the heavy elements", because of the abundance of neutrons.

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