Fusion of two neutron stars that generated gravitational waves may have generated a black hole

The fusion of two neutron stars that generated gravitational waves and was observed by LIGO and Virgo in 2017 is 2.7 times more mbadive than the sun. This is why researchers think that this remnant is a black hole.
( NASA / CXC / M.Weiss )

Last year, the Laser Gravitational Wave Observatory of the Laser Interferometer (LIGO) and the Virgo detector based in Europe detected the collision of two neutron stars that generated gravitational waves.

Remaining gravitational wave event

The event marks the first time that scientists have witnessed the fusion of two neutron stars.

Now, a new study suggests that the merger also resulted in a black hole. The researchers said that the rest of the event could be the lowest mbad black hole found.

Dave Pooley of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and his colleagues badyzed data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory before gravitational wave detection. Chandra's X-rays are crucial to better understand what happened after the collision of the two neutron stars.

Using data from LIGO, the researchers were able to estimate that the mbad of the object produced by the fusion of neutron stars is treated 2.7 times the solar mbad, suggesting that it could be the most mbadive neutron star ever found or the hole lowest black ever found.

Black hole or neutron star?

If a heavier neutron star formed as a result of the merger, the astronomers said it would spin rapidly and produce a very strong magnetic field. This would create an expanding bubble of high-energy particles that would result in a brilliant emission of X-rays.

Chandra's data, however, showed X-ray levels that are lower than those expected for the neutron star merged This suggests that what was formed is a black hole.

"Astronomers long ago suspected that fusions of neutron stars would form a black hole and produce bursts of radiation, but until now we lacked solid arguments," said study co-author Pawan Kumar. from the University of Texas at Austin.

The idea that the remnant is a neutron star has yet to be confirmed.

The theory can be tested with the help of future radiographs and X-ray observations. If the object turns out to be a neutron star, it is expected to be brighter at the radio wavelengths and the X-rays in a few years. If it is a black hole, it will continue to weaken as the shock wave weakens.

"If the remnant is a rapidly rotating magnetized neutron star, the total energy in the external shock should increase by a factor ~ 102 (for ~ 1052 erg) after a few years, therefore, Chandra's observations during the next year or two that do not show a substantial brightness will discard such a remnant, "the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters on May 31.

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