The recent collision of neutron stars was witnessed by many telescopes in space and on the ground on 17th August 2017. The spectacular collision of a couple of stars, named GW170817was heard as well as seen.
This phenomenon of spectacular collision led to an amazing discovery by scientists. The collision of these stars not only produces a blinding light but also produces gravitational waves. This discovery was made possible with the help of Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the Virgo detector in Europe and some other ground and space observatories.
What are Neutron Stars?
Neutron stars are a product of the supernova explosion of a huge or a big star. The supernova explosion is accompanied by a gravitation collapse which compresses the nucleus to the density of atomic nuclei. The product of the supernova explosion is Neutron Stars which have a radius of about ten kilometers. But the mass of these neutron stars is twice that of the sun.
What Happened After the Collision?
The gravitational waves produced after the collision was visible for hundred seconds. Then there was a flash of gamma rays being emitted as an aftermath of the collision for two seconds. For a few of the following days, many other kinds of electromagnetic radiations were detected. X-rays, Ultraviolet, radio waves, optical and infrared rays were detected.
Conclusion of the Collision
France A. Córdova, director at the National Space Foundation (NSF), says that this collision was observed through various mediums and has solved a huge problem for the astronomers. This phenomenon has given them answers to many unanswered questions.
After the LIGO’s real-time data analysis device detected a Gamma-remission the scientists at LIGO and Virgo followed and quickly found the start. Acceding to a spokesperson at LIGO, “From informing detailed models of the inner workings of neutron stars and the emissions they produce, to more fundamental physics such as general relativity, this event is just so rich. It is a gift that will keep on giving.”
Many theorists have predicted had predicted that when two neutron stars collided, they gave off gravitational waves as well as gamma rays and short emissions of light. This was confirmed by the observation of the starGW170817. Although this phenomenon answers some questions, newer questions emerge. It has now been confirmed that the gravitational waves are due to the collision of two objects. These objects had the masses of neutron stars. And the next thing that this phenomenon has confirmed that these objects cannot be black holes, as black holes do not emit any light.
The gamma rays so emitted were short for their size. And many new models for why this happened have already been proposed by scientists.
This phenomenon has proved Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, proposed hundred years ago, to be correct. Theorists have predicted that after the collision “Kilonova” follows, which is the mass left after the collision. It is the initial stage of “fireball.” What follows next is the formation of heavy metals such as gold, platinum, etc. These metals are distributed in the universe evenly after the collision.
Fred Raab, LIGO associate director for observatory operations, is of the opinion that this phenomenon is the key to a new era in the for astronomy.