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16 Aug, 2019 17:03

Gulp! Scientists ‘detect black hole swallowing neutron star for first time’

Gulp! Scientists ‘detect black hole swallowing neutron star for first time’

Strong gravitational ripples in the cosmos have revealed what experts believe is the first ever detection of a doomed neutron star being swallowed by a black hole.

The gravitational waves washed across the universe before being detected by the LIGO and Virgo observatories in recent days. The historic event, which is called S190814bv, was recorded in a public database used by astronomers on Wednesday. 

Excitingly, initial analysis suggests there’s a 99 percent chance that the ripples are the aftermath of a neutron star’s cataclysmic merger with a black hole. Astronomers have long wished to detect such a collision but have never been successful.

“Something has occurred out there in the sky,” LIGO member Daniel Holz said to Science News. “So far, it doesn’t obviously look like anything we’ve detected with high confidence before.”

Researchers are now tirelessly scanning the sky, searching for the light that may have been left behind by the neutron star as it was absorbed into the black hole.

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