Mystery Astronomical Object May Be a 'Black Neutron Star'

Astronomers have found a so-called black neutron star that changes our understanding of both black holes and neutron stars


NSFW    PASADENA, CALIFORNIA — Astronomers have long wondered what lies within the so-called mass gap between black holes and neutron stars. The largest known neutron star is 2.5 times the size of our Sun, while the smallest known balck hole is five solar masses.

In a new study from the National Science Foundation's Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, and the Virgo detector in Europe, scientists have announced the discovery of an object of 2.6 solar masses.

This object, which some are calling a "black neutron star," existed about 800 million light-years away from Earth in a binary pairing with a large black hole of 23 solar masses.

These two interstellar bodies collided in an event called GW190814, creating a huge splash of gravitational waves.

LIGO and Virgo detected the black neutron star in August of 2019, as it merged with the black hole, leaving a newly formed black hole about 25 times the size of our Sun.

A paper about the detection has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
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