by Elizabeth Gamillo/Smithsonianmag.com
For the first time, astrophysicists have evidence of not just one, but two black holes obliterating highly dense, incredibly massive neutron stars. First detected in January 2020, the intense gravitational waves produced by these events took roughly one billion years to reach Earth, reports Ashley Strickland for CNN.
The new study, published this week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, is the result of collaboration among more than a thousand scientists in the field—and its findings could unlock the origins of gravitational waves and some underlying mysteries of the universe.
Both neutron stars and black holes are the results of violent star death. When stars die, depending on their size, they lose mass and become more dense until they collapse in a supernova explosion. Some turn into endless black holes that devour anything around them, while others leave behind a neutron star, which is a dense remnant of a star too small to turn into a black hole, reports CNN.