Astronomers have discovered a neutron star that lasted only a fraction of a second

(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers have detected flashes of gamma rays indicating the brief existence of a superheavy neutron star shortly before it collapsed into a black hole.

As the scientists explain, this whole process lasted only a fraction of a second and will now allow them to learn more about the nature of neutron stars and the evolution of colossal black holes.

When stars of a certain mass range explode as supernovae, they leave behind a dense core (a neutron star). The pressure created by these superdense objects causes a huge amount of matter to compress.

Thus, a neutron star can have a maximum mass of just over two suns, and then it will turn into a black hole, so if the total mass of two neutron stars falls below this limit, then they form a new neutron star.

The giant neutron star explored in this scenario only existed for a few milliseconds.

The scientists looked for gamma signals in 700 short gamma-ray bursts detected by NASA‘s Neil Gerels Swift Observatory, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Compton Observatory.

Researchers have detected gamma-ray bursts that indicate the collision of two neutron stars and, ultimately, the formation of a black hole as a result of two outbursts observed back in the early 1990s.

“We know that short gamma-ray bursts form when spinning neutron stars collide with each other, and we know that they eventually collapse into a black hole, but the exact sequence of events is not entirely clear,” explains astrophysicist Cole Miller from the University of Maryland.

“At some point, a nascent black hole erupts into a jet of fast-moving particles emitting an intense gamma-ray burst, and we want to learn more about how it develops.”

By the 2030s, gravitational wave observatories are expected to become much more sensitive, so we can gain new insights into the fleeting existence of giant-sized neutron stars.


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