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First Gravitational Waves Detection from Neutron Star Colliding with a Black Hole

“The first month of LIGO-Virgo’s third observing run has been truly amazing, potentially bringing us the discovery of the so far missing third, hybrid class of mergers – a neutron star merging with a black hole,” said Professor Vicky Kalogera, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics at Northwestern University and member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, in an emailed statement. “Our multi-messenger team at Northwestern has been kept on its feet, and it is a treasure to be in this intellectual environment that combines both sides of the data analyses and the computer simulations of potential sources to understand what these signals are telling us.”

The collaboration has issued public alerts regarding S190425z and S190426c, which have been picked up by both electromagnetic and astro-particle observatories on the ground and in space. No light-emitting counterpart has been identified at this stage but the search continues.

“It has been a truly spectacular start of the ‘hunting season’ for light from gravitational-wave sources. Our team is ready to repoint the Keck telescopes, among the largest on the globe,” Assistant Professor Raffaella Margutti, also at Northwestern, explained. “We are still searching for any photon produced by the two mergers detected last month by LIGO-Virgo that might be able to reach our detectors on Earth and in space.”


Read the full article in IFL Science, “We Might Have Seen The First Gravitational Waves From A Neutron Star Colliding With A Black Hole” by Alfredo Carpienti.


Image Credit: Artist’s impression of a black hole colliding with a neutron star – Shutterstock/Kostafly