The neutron collision that shook the universe

An artist's concept of two neutron stars colliding into each other


It is our inquisitiveness that fuels the need for further scientific research, curiosity is the origin of all that we know today, as humans we are inherently curious. Our generation escalated in the world of science with the recent Nobel-Prize winning detection of gravitational waves. But now a conundrum of such scale has occurred, it urges to change the boundaries of our knowledge altogether. The quandary of the neutron star collision that occurred recently, may just have proven once and for all the fact of true perfect relativity. It also hints at the candor of the super string theory.


Two neutron stars approximately 130 million light years away, collided, resulting in huge amounts of gold and platinum being released. The subsequent ripple in the space time fabric was detected, once again proving Einstein’s absurd claims of gravitational waves. Albert Einstein anticipated the presence of these ripples over a century back, however researchers didn't figure out how to identify them until 2015. Up to this point, they'd made just four such identifications, and each time the ripples space-time were caused by the crash of two black holes, never once by neutron stars.

These stars are an oddity of their own. They are small, smaller than cities and yet due to their absurd density, have more mass than the sun. These stars are basically old stars that have experienced the super nova phase and have been squeezed down by gravity.


So if you have two of these stars orbiting each other, they omit some of their energy as gravitational waves and they start to spiral in close to each other. When they get really close the gravitational waves become really intense and this creates a kilonova which spews debris into space.


It all began on August 17 at 8:41 a.m. when LIGO interferometers identified a clear gravitational wave signal that lasted about a hundred seconds which is way longer than any previous detection and it’s consistent with the theoretical predictions for the signal from two merging neutron stars. Around 1.7 seconds later NASA’s Fermi gamma ray telescope identified a burst of gamma rays. To know for sure that these gravitational waves and gamma ray bursts came from the same event the key was to locate, where in the sky, this neutron star merger occurred.                                                                                                                           

Unlike a merger of black holes neutron stars emit light when they smash together and continue emitting electromagnetic radiation afterwards. The Fermi Gamma ray space telescope identified a large patch of the sky roughly the size of six thousand full moons. Since Virgo the latest detector was unable to detect these waves, the search area was located in its blind spots.



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