the gift that will keep on giving
Last Updated : GMT 01:59:58
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 01:59:58
Arab Today, arab today

Neutron star crash

'The gift that will keep on giving'

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today 'The gift that will keep on giving'

Neutron stars are the condensed, burnt-out cores that remain when massive stars run out of fuel
Paris - AFP

The astrophysics world is abuzz after the first-ever observation of two neutron stars merging in a cataclysmic crash that left a rich trail of debris for scientists to comb through.

Here are three things the event has told us about the Universe we inhabit:

- Cosmic gold mine -

At last, scientists are now able to pinpoint the source of at least half the gold, platinum, lead and other heavy elements in the cosmos.

"The gold in your wedding ring probably came from a neutron star merger in our part of the galaxy that happened five billion years ago or so before our Sun was born. And the mercury in your fillings," said co-discoverer Patrick Sutton of Cardiff University.

When the Universe emerged from the "Big Bang", it consisted mainly of hydrogen and helium, the lightest elements on the Periodic Table.

Heavier elements -- everything from the carbon in our bodies to the oxygen we breathe -- were formed later by nuclear reactions in the cores of stars fusing atoms together.

But the heaviest element a star can make, scientists say, is iron -- number 26 on the Periodic Table of 100+ entries.

One theoretical source for heavier elements is supernova explosions that happen when massive stars run out of fuel and die.

But there are not enough such explosions, and insufficient material produced by them, to explain more than about half the heavy elements in the Universe.

Another theorised source was neutron star mergers.

Now, telescopes have spotted evidence for newly-synthesised heavy elements in the light bursts from one such cataclysmic crash.

"For the very first time, we see unequivocal evidence of a cosmic mine that is forging about 10,000 Earth-masses of heavy elements," said Mansi Kasliwal from the California Institute of Technology, another member of the global team.

- Radiation -

Another mystery solved: neutron star smashups are now known to be one source for the bright flashes of high-energy radiation known as short gamma ray bursts.

First detected by American satellites in the 1960s, they were suspected at first of being Russian nuclear bomb explosions in space.

When that theory collapsed, neutron star mergers were seen as another potential source.

On August 17 this year, telescopes picked up a rather unspectacular gamma ray burst -- brief and dimmer than usual.

The flash could easily have been ignored if not for the fact that it came a mere 1.7 seconds after gravitational wave instruments happened upon the death spiral of two neutron stars in exactly the same spot.

"This is, if you will, a smoking gun," said Sutton.

"It's now clear that binary neutron stars are a source of the short gamma ray bursts," though there may be other origins too.

- Expanding Universe -

Scientists know that the cosmos is expanding, but figuring out just how fast has been a challenge.

If we can pinpoint the rate, we can determine the Universe's age, and how much matter it contains.

By measuring the size of gravitational waves emitted from a monster event such as a merger of black holes or neutron stars, scientists can theoretically deduce how far away it happened.

Similarly, examining a gamma ray flash should reveal the "redshift" of the source, and thus the speed at which it is moving. Redshift is a measure of the changing wavelength of light travelling away from an observer.

In the August 17 breakthrough, scientists observed both gamma rays and gravitational waves from the same source for the first time -- enabling them to make a fresh, though preliminary, estimate of how fast the Universe is expanding.

For now, the number remains subject to large "statistical uncertainties", and needs to be refined by observing more neutron star crashes, the teams said.

- To infinity, and beyond -

Scientists hope to use neutron star merger data to learn more about the laws of Nature, and how matter behaves in such extreme environments.

"From informing detailed models of the inner workings of neutron stars and the emissions they produce, to more fundamental physics such as general relativity, this event is just so rich," said David Shoemaker, head of the LIGO collaboration that helped detect the celestial smashup.

"It is a gift that will keep on giving."

Source: AFP

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

the gift that will keep on giving the gift that will keep on giving

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

the gift that will keep on giving the gift that will keep on giving

 



Arab Today, arab today Modern colorful bedroom renovation

GMT 11:23 2017 Thursday ,21 December

Modern colorful bedroom renovation
Arab Today, arab today For the Variety of Interior Design Styles

GMT 11:14 2017 Tuesday ,19 December

For the Variety of Interior Design Styles

GMT 13:29 2018 Friday ,14 December

Turkey targets military over alleged Gulen links

GMT 16:09 2017 Wednesday ,18 October

Faraj happy for winning championship

GMT 17:09 2017 Wednesday ,11 October

Sharon Jones album to come out a year

GMT 09:08 2017 Tuesday ,07 November

UN aid flights blocked from Yemen

GMT 11:33 2018 Tuesday ,11 December

Top EU court backs legality of ECB bond buying

GMT 13:58 2016 Wednesday ,06 April

Sharjah book authority participates

GMT 04:00 2016 Thursday ,26 May

Mohammed bin Rashid opens Burj Al Arab Terrace

GMT 11:00 2016 Wednesday ,30 November

Mohammed bin Rashid honours 45 ‘UAE Pioneers’

GMT 08:33 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

George Wassof participated in Lebanon’s concert

GMT 11:21 2017 Wednesday ,08 November

10 years in the making, the Louvre Abu Dhabi set to open

GMT 11:26 2017 Wednesday ,18 October

Hiring not part of Alibaba pledge

GMT 10:47 2017 Thursday ,30 November

Tillerson: State Dept budget can be cut as wars ending

GMT 10:28 2017 Friday ,17 February

Kind Natured launches Love Curls Collection

GMT 10:39 2017 Saturday ,29 April

Petromin to build 240 gas stations in Kingdom

GMT 10:11 2017 Friday ,27 October

Saudi Arabia to invest $1 billion

GMT 12:12 2017 Monday ,23 January

China's online population reaches 731 m

GMT 10:41 2017 Tuesday ,27 June

Arwa Goda happy for “This Evening” success

GMT 10:56 2017 Friday ,17 November

'Fake news' becomes a business model: researchers

GMT 04:54 2017 Tuesday ,26 September

OPEC to discuss extending cuts, quotas
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday