Colliding neutron stars seen by gravity waves and optical telescopes

Oct 19, 2017, 00:25
Colliding neutron stars seen by gravity waves and optical telescopes

The neutron star collision has ushered the next phase in our understanding of gravitational waves by allowing scientists to hear and see them simultaneously.

On August 18th, astronomers witnessed the remains of a neutron star mash-up, which traveled 130 million light years before it was seen by Earthly detectors.

"On that morning, all of our dreams came true".

The discovery, published Monday in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made possible by the massive, laser-based gravitational wave detectors first envisioned by MIT physicist Rainer Weiss half a century ago and by an worldwide network of partner observatories that responded by quickly aiming telescopes and scanning the night sky in search of the light and other electromagnetic radiation that shot across space from the same collision that emitted the gravitational waves.

"Before this event, it was like we were sitting in an IMAX theatre with blindfolds on", he says. Less than two seconds later, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor on NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a short burst of gamma rays.

"Unlike black holes, neutron star collisions emit other signals such as gamma rays, light and radio waves so astronomers around the world were able to observe the event through telescopes". This time around, the celestial signal stems from an event, which has never been seen before - the merger of two neutron stars.

Soon after the Big Bang, the universe was filled mostly with hydrogen and helium, as these are the lightest elements in the Periodic Table. However, the theory says the heaviest element which can possibly come from a star is iron. For years, astronomers have only been able to guess at where mysterious gamma ray bursts come from, but now the hypothesis that they come from neutron stars colliding seems to be confirmed. In this case, both stars eventually exploded in supernovas and collapsed, producing a binary neutron star.

It yielded 20 scientific papers published in three separate journals and answered a broad array of questions about the cosmos: What happens when neutron stars collide? However, the Hanford signal was good enough to trigger a deeper analysis of the data that quickly located the signature. Each of these gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) spewed energy equal to energy radiated by the sun in 10 billion years which in a matter of seconds. This is the first time researchers have successfully detected the gravitational waves that result from a neutron star merger. For example, we have already used our observations to make the first ever joint measurement of the expansion rate of the universe, using both gravitational waves and light. But Smartt added that, by the time dusk fell in Paranal, the LIGO-Virgo collaboration had refined their localization of the GW signal, to the extent that searching for an electromagnetic counterpart became feasible.

As well as proving Einstein right, the collision has resulted in a batch of new discoveries related to gravitational waves and a spike in astronomical research activity.

Neutron stars, the densest in the universe and measuring just 10km across, are found alone but also in pairs orbiting each other. "Gravitational Wave detection of a binary neutron star merger, together with confirmation and identifying the location of the optical counterpart by conventional telescopes completes the integration of gravitational waves into astronomy", said Dr. Souradeep.

According to Dale Frail of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the kilonova spotted in August is the "first unambiguous detection of a merger of two neutron stars".

For example, observations of gravity from the collisions of high mass objects, like GW170817, are considered one of the few ways to test Einstein's theory.

So where will all these new discoveries lead us?

This energy was picked up by the three advanced gravitational wave laser interferometers, located thousands of kilometres away from each other when the passage of the gravitational wave provides an oscillation of the lengths of their two arms, at the same frequency of the incoming gravitational wave.

"Now, astronomers won't just look at the light from an object, as we've done for hundreds of years, but also listen to it", Tanvir said. He is hopeful that that planned LIGO-India detector, jointly funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science & Technology (DST), "will increase the sensitivity of the global gravitational-wave network and help pinpoint the exact location of the gravitational wave event". "We can expect many more insights into cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, nuclear physics, gravity, and other fields from gravitational wave observations as the 21st century progresses".

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
  • Maria Sharapova beats Shuai Peng to reach Tianjin Open final

    Maria Sharapova beats Shuai Peng to reach Tianjin Open final

    Maria Sharapova has clinched her first WTA title since returning from a drugs ban after beating Aryna Sabalenka to win the Tianjin Open.
    GM, Cruise Get First Crack at NYC Autonomous Testing

    GM, Cruise Get First Crack at NYC Autonomous Testing

    The legislation , included in the FY 2018 budget, allows for the testing of autonomous technology in ny through a pilot program. Cruise Automation, the tech firm purchased by General Motors , is based in San Francisco.
    Garmin Speak adds Amazon Alexa to your auto  for $149

    Garmin Speak adds Amazon Alexa to your auto for $149

    That means access to Alexa's skills as you drive, only this is in a tiny package that sticks to your windshield. The Garmin Speak will use the paid smartphone's data connection to remain connected to the internet.
  • Microsoft unveils Surface Book 2

    Microsoft unveils Surface Book 2

    The detachable display/tablet design is still present, though there are now 13-inch and 15-inch options available. If you can get around the whole using Windows thing, Surface Book 2 does have some impressive specs on paper...
    Aamir Khan Enters Secret Superstar Midway

    Aamir Khan Enters Secret Superstar Midway

    On the other hand, while Aamir takes a back seat in " Secret Superstar " it has " Dangal " fame Zaira Wasim in the lead role. The songs "Main Kaun Hoon", "Meri Pyaari Ammi", "Sapne Re" and "I Miss You" provide further insights into the film.
    Horse-trading begins for Liberia presidential runoff

    Horse-trading begins for Liberia presidential runoff

    Brumskine has said the vote was marred by fraud and that he would request a re-run. Since only 5% are left to count, officials say a second round vote looks likely.
  • Facebook Buys an App for their Advocacy for Teens to 'Be Nice'

    Facebook Buys an App for their Advocacy for Teens to 'Be Nice'

    According to TechCrunch's sources, Facebook paid less than United States dollars 100 million for the company. As for what tbh does, it's basically a polling app filled with good-natured multiple-choice questions.
    Fentanyl ring tied to South Mississippi

    Fentanyl ring tied to South Mississippi

    Officials say American customers could purchase pure fentanyl and other unsafe drugs online, directly from Chinese factories. Several deaths and serious illness have been tied directly to the alleged ring, USA authorities said.

    Oil prices slip on higher United States crude inventories

    United States crude stocks rose by 3.1 million to 468.5 million barrels last week, according to the American Petroleum Institute. The OPEC/Non-OPEC producers need to do something about output because they are not getting any help from US producers.
  • Institutional Portfolio Favorite in Spotlight: Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG)

    Institutional Portfolio Favorite in Spotlight: Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG)

    The expected future growth in earnings per share ("EPS") is an incredibly important factor in identifying an under-valued stock. The company also lodged consolidated revenues of $1.15 billion, deteriorating from the prior-year tally of $1.27 billion.
    Carrie Fisher gave one man a tongue lashing he's unlikely to forget

    Carrie Fisher gave one man a tongue lashing he's unlikely to forget

    Heather said Carrie told her she went into his office and placed a box wrapped in wrapping paper and a white bow on his desk. You know Princess Leia would not leave you hanging, especially when it came to fending off predatory Hollywood producers.
    Nintendo wants to appeal to more mature audiences

    Nintendo wants to appeal to more mature audiences

    Nintendo is known for its family-friendly consoles, but it seems like the Switch will not be known as %100 family friendly. The brokerage firm now expects the Switch to sell 130 million units by 2022, compared to 70 million units previously.
popular