For the very first time, the world of science managed to witness a neutron star collision. The monumental project was a conjoint effort between dozens of specialists and observatory around the world. The mission intended to record the gravitational waves that finally reached Earth after 130 million years since their creation.
This Year’s Scientific Breakthrough Was Possible Thanks to Einstein’s General Relativity Theory
Millions of years ago, the Galaxy NGC 4993 of the Hydra constellation witnessed how two dying stars started spiraling closer to one another. In just a few seconds, the two celestial bodies collided. The impact of this event has likely created a black hole. Not only that, but it sent out signals throughout the universe. These are known as gravitational waves.
However, the ripples in spacetime have only recently reached Earth. This stop gave our scientists a unique opportunity to study gravitational waves. The phenomenon was more insightful than the 2015 similar detection.
Thanks to this window of opportunity, scientists are now able to answer complex questions. They now know how at least half the mass of gold and platinum in the universe was created, the nature of gamma-ray bursts that may generate fatal radiation, and the speed of the expansion of the universe.
This year’s event was actually predicted by a great mind a century ago, Albert Einstein. His General Relativity Theory claims that monstrous objects in the universe can create ripples in spacetime. They are supposed to be so powerful that they can distort physical and temporal dimensions.
This Is the First Time Scientists Proved that Gamma-Ray Bursts Originate from a Neutron Star Collision
On Thursday 17 August 2017, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected the GW170817 gravitational-wave event. After 1.7 seconds, the equipment recorded another event in the form of a burst of gamma rays. Both phenomena came from the same direction.
This recording attested for the first time in human history that the gamma-ray bursts space-borne telescopes have kept detecting are creations of a neutron star collision. Since that August day, 3,000 researchers have been working with 70 observatories to track down the source of the two events.
Once they compiled all data and analyzed it, they identified the source as the Galaxy NGC 4993. This is 130 million light years away from us. One of the main findings of this study is that the merger between two neutron stars produced at least half of the universe’s mass of gold and platinum.
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