“A mysterious object” detected thanks to gravitational waves

« Un mystérieux objet » détecté grâce aux ondes gravitationnelles

A new discovery and new questions: a celestial object, located at 800 million light-years away, was detected thanks to gravitational waves. A mass range between the smallest black hole and the largest neutron star, its nature remains a mystery to astronomers.

“Once again, the observation of gravitational waves reveals the unknown. The lighter object of this system has a mass which has never been observed before, ” said Giovanni Losurdo, of the national Institute of nuclear physics, Italian and spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) in a press release.

On August 14, 2019, gravitational waves come down to the detectors the american Ligo and european Virgo. The instrument us LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), which consists of two separate installations, was already allowed in September 2015 the first direct observation of these waves that Albert Einstein predicted in his theory of general relativity.

The Virgo, located near Pisa in Italy, was restarted in 2017 after several years of improvement work, and participated in the first observation of the merger of two neutron stars.

According to a study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, this new signal is detected has been issued there are about 800 million light years, when the mysterious object was merged with a black hole.

Since long, astronomers are questioning the lack of observations of compact objects with masses ranging between 2.5 to 5 solar masses, ” a range of masses apparently too light for a black hole and too heavy for a neutron star “. A “mysterious gray area” in which this new object is dragging.

“A new discovery which raises new questions. What is its nature ? “, question astronomers.

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