LIGO and Virgo Detect Gravitational Waves Resulting from A Collision in the Cosmos

The scientific community is left excited and equally baffled, with a new occurrence that has come to be added to a series of collisions in space, detected and traced from 2015.

A black hole may have swallowed a neutron star, sending a prelude to the action with tiny rippled felt through the cosmos that were distinguished by both the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in the US and the Virgo detector in Italy. The international team of scientists detected the telltale chirp as two massive objects collided about 900 million light years away, leaving gravitational waves felt through the cosmos in their wake.

Astrophysicist Susan Scott of the Australian National University and OzGrav’s chief investigator, along with a team, is also further studying the nature and implication of this collision, the details of which are still under examination, due to the various possibilities it opens up. Professor Scott said the mass of the objects indicated that one of the objects had to be a black hole and the other a neutron star — the dead core of an exploded star. “We’ve never seen a black hole less than five solar masses. The lighter one should be a neutron star. They are less than three solar masses in general,” she said.

There have been very similar occurrences if not the same. In 2015, the LIGO team has detected another monumental event in the universe, the possible collision of two black holes and the gravitational waves it left. Following that, 2017, saw another collision relational gravitational vibration, but this time it was two neutron stars crashing into one another.

Professor Scott believes the recent discovery could reap something more significant. Her understanding points that we may have stumbled upon a very light black hole. “If that were the case, that would open up a whole new area because how would black holes of that mass actually form?” she said.