Scientists have discovered a strange set of mysterious gravitational waves that have been sent across space by an unknown object. It should be noted that gravitational waves are basically ripples in space-time that are usually caused by the motion of massive objects.
Earlier, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) had detected such waves formed due to the collision of black holes. A similar wave was previously detected from a neutron star as well.
A mysterious new gravitational wave that raises 1000 questions
Now, scientists have discovered a truly puzzling collision. Katerina Chatziioannou, a LIGO team member told during the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Hawaii that they have discovered signs of two objects colliding.
Scientists believe that one of the objects that took part in this collision is a neutron star, and it has a mass between 1.1 and 1.7 times the mass of the sun. However, the mass of the second object could be as high as 2.5 times that of the sun, and it indicates that it could be massive enough to be a black hole.
Even though this second object could be a neutron star, scientists until now have not discovered a neutron star with such a large mass.
"We've never seen any neutron star with this large a mass. The question is, is it really a neutron star? If it is, then we've detected a really strange heavy neutron star, but if it's a black hole it's a really light black hole. It's clearly heavier than any other pair of neutron stars ever observed. The existence of a system like that challenges our current understanding of how those systems form binaries and merge to give off gravitational waves," said Chatziioannou, New Scientist reports.
A neutron star that spins 707 times a second
A few weeks back, scientists had discovered a neutron star that spins at least 707 times in a second. It should be noted that during its spin, this neutron star used to send gamma rays into the universe, and they can be seen by earthlings when it gets pointed right at the earth, just like a lighthouse beaming light.