A black hole swallowing a neutron star has been detected for the first time, according to global space scientists. As per a report by the Australian National University (ANU), on August 14, a violent event was detected by the gravitational-wave discovery machines in the US and Italy. These machines had detected ripples in space and time from a cataclysmic event which happened approximately 8,550 million trillion kilometres away from Earth. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in the US and the Virgo interferometer in Italy had detected this development.
The ANU statement explained that the neutron stars and black holes are super-dense remains of the dead stars. It also added that the space scientists are still analysing the data to confirm the exact size of the two objects. As per the initial findings, there is a very strong likelihood of a black hole enveloping a neutron star. The final results are expected to be published in scientific journals.
“About 900 million years ago, this black hole ate a very dense star, known as a neutron star, like Pac-man – possibly snuffing out the star instantly,” Professor Susan Scott, Leader of the General Relativity Theory and Data Analysis Group at ANU and a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery said in the statement.
According to Scott, the ANU SkyMapper Telescope was not able to find any visual confirmation when they responded to the detection alert and scanned the entire likely region of space.
So far, scientists have never detected a black hole smaller than five solar masses or a neutron star larger than about 2.5 times the mass of our Sun, according to Scott. “Based on this experience, we’re very confident that we’ve just detected a black hole gobbling up a neutron star.” However, Scott also acknowledged a possibility that the swallowed object was a very light black hole, much lighter than any other known black hole in the Universe.
Recently a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), which is located at the heart of the Milky Way had suddenly glowed brighter than its normal state becoming 75 times more luminescent before going back to its normal state. Apart from this, scientists had earlier this year also discovered the only space object – a lone star, that managed to escape the force of Sgr A* black hole. The news about the star which escaped the force of the black hole came a few months after astronomers across the world showed the first-ever image of a black hole.