Perfect explosion! 2 Neutron stars collide, spark amazing spherical Kilonova explosions | Tech News

Perfect explosion! 2 Neutron stars collide, spark amazing spherical Kilonova explosions

Astrophysicists have made an astonishing discovery about Neutron star collisions using data collected from a 2017 Kilonova explosion.

| Updated on: Feb 20 2023, 11:22 IST
Sickening! From light to darkness, DEATH of a star is the birth of a Black Hole!
1/5 What is a Black Hole? According to NASA, a black hole is an astronomical object with a gravitational pull so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape it. A black hole’s “surface,” called its event horizon, defines the boundary where the velocity needed to escape exceeds the speed of light, which is the speed limit of the cosmos. Matter and radiation fall in, but they can’t get out. (NASA)
2/5 Classes of black holes: Two main classes of black holes have been extensively observed. Stellar-mass black holes with three to dozens of times the Sun’s mass are spread throughout our Milky Way galaxy, while supermassive monsters weighing 100,000 to billions of solar masses are found in the centers of most big galaxies, ours included. (AP)
3/5 How are black holes birthed? A stellar-mass black hole formation happens when a star with more than 20 solar masses exhausts the nuclear fuel in its core and collapses under its own weight. The collapse triggers a supernova explosion that blows off the star’s outer layers. But if the crushed core contains more than about three times the Sun’s mass, no known force can stop its collapse and the birth of of a black hole. The origin of supermassive black holes is poorly understood, but we know they exist from the very earliest days of a galaxy’s lifetime. Once born, black holes can grow by accreting matter that falls into them, including gas stripped from neighboring stars and even other black holes. (NASA)
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4/5 First image of black hole: In 2019, astronomers using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — an international collaboration that networked eight ground-based radio telescopes into a single Earth-size dish — captured an image of a black hole for the first time. It appears as a dark circle silhouetted by an orbiting disk of hot, glowing matter. The supermassive black hole is located at the heart of a galaxy called M87, located about 55 million light-years away, and weighs more than 6 billion solar masses. Its event horizon extends so far it could encompass much of our solar system out to well beyond the planets. (Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration)
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5/5 Studying black holes: Astronomers have been studying black holes through the various forms of light they emit for decades. Although light can’t escape a black hole’s event horizon, the enormous tidal forces in its vicinity cause nearby matter to heat up to millions of degrees and emit radio waves and X-rays. Some of the material orbiting even closer to the event horizon may be hurled out, forming jets of particles moving near the speed of light that emit radio, X-rays and gamma rays. Jets from supermassive black holes can extend hundreds of thousands of light-years into space. NASA’s Hubble, Chandra, Swift, NuSTAR, and NICER space telescopes, as well as other missions, continue to take the measure of black holes and their environments. (NASA)
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When two neutron stars collide, it results in an explosion known as a Kilonova. (NASA)

Scientists have revealed that the collision of Neutron stars causes spherical Kilonova explosions. This contradicts the earlier theory. Stars are celestial objects millions of years old floating in space. When a star runs out of fuel, its core collapses, crushing together every proton and electron into a neutron. This results in the creation of the densest object known to man, a Neutron star – an object with the mass of a sun squished down to the size of a city, as per NASA. When two neutron stars collide, it results in their merger and causes an explosion, known as a Kilonova.

Earlier it was believed that the Kilonova explosion result from a Neutron star merger were flattened discs. However, this new study contradicts it. The study, done by astrophysicists at the University of Copenhagen and published in the Nature journal, reveals that the aftermath of a Neutron star collision results in a perfectly spherical explosion.

Albert Sneppen, PhD student at the Niels Bohr Institute and first author of the study said, “"You have two super-compact stars that orbit each other 100 times a second before collapsing. Our intuition, and all previous models, say that the explosion cloud created by the collision must have a flattened and rather asymmetrical shape.”

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Data for the study

Scientists first discovered a Kilonova explosion back in 2017 with the help of Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo interferometer. The explosion was detected around 140 million light-years away and astrophysicists studied the data from this explosion and revealed the spherical nature of Kilonova.

Darach Watson, associate professor at the Niels Bohr Institute and second author on the study said, “No one expected the explosion to look like this. It makes no sense that it is spherical, like a ball. But our calculations clearly show that it is. This probably means that the theories and simulations of kilonovae that we have been considering over the past 25 years lack important physics.”

How do stars die?

Although most stars live for billions of years, it is known that the bigger the star, the shorter its lifespan. Stars are fueled by the nuclear fusion of hydrogen to form helium deep in their interiors. When all the hydrogen in its core has been fused, the nuclear reactions stop. As a result, the core of the star begins to collapse under its own weight. The expanding core pushes the outer layers outward, causing them to expand and cool. Thus, the star becomes a red giant.

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First Published Date: 20 Feb, 11:21 IST