Scientists first recorded gravitational waves from the collision of two neutron stars

For this discovery this year was awarded the Nobel prize in physics

Scientists from the collaboration of laboratories LIGO-VIRGO Collaboration recorded gravitational waves from the collision of two neutron stars, which occurred about 130 million years ago. Reported by the BBC.

Data from the detectors LIGO (USA) VIRGO (Europe) was received on August 17. This discovery allowed the telescopes around the world to collect data about this merger in the dynamics – the information about the gravitational waves and the radiation generated by the event, it was fixed within a few days.

An outbreak occurred in the galaxy NGC 4993, in the constellation Hydra at a distance of about 130 million light-years from Earth. Colliding cosmic bodies were nuclei of dead stars. Their weight was only 10-20% of the mass of the Sun, but in size they do not exceed 30 km in diameter. For comparison, the Sun’s radius is about 700 thousand.

In contrast to the earlier recorded the collisions of black holes, a similar event with the participation of neutron stars has generated not only gravitational waves, but also a powerful gamma-radiation, which also managed to fix the astrophysicists. In addition, these mergers lead to the formation of atoms of gold and platinum, scientists say.

Publication from NASA (@nasa) 16 Oct 2017 11:08 PDT

For animated collision model, provided by NASA, shows how the two ultra-dense core of dead stars revolve around each other with increasing speed, then merge. It is at the stage of rotation generates gravity waves (disturbance in the space-time shown here is pale arcs), and then after the collision several types of radiation. First appear gamma rays (indicated by the Magenta color), and then ultraviolet radiation (purple), after them visible and infrared (from blue to red) and finally x-ray (blue).

“That’s what we’ve been waiting for,” commented the results of observations David Reitz, Executive Director of the LIGO laboratory in Pasadena, California (USA).

We will remind, the LIGO detector in the person of Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish, and Kip Thorne was awarded the Nobel prize in physics for 2017. The award was given to them “for decisive contribution to the LIGO detector and observation of gravitational waves”. Since the 1970s they have been developing and building a detector of gravitational waves, to fix which was the first in mid-September 2015. Officially this was announced on 11 February 2016.