UNITED STATES: Astronomers can for the first time detect the smashing together of dead suns known as neutron stars because of a powerful new telescope.
The collisions of the neutron stars are what are said to have created heavy metals that created stars and planets like ours billions of years ago. They have such strong gravity that they are drawn to each other. Eventually, they crash together and merge. Collisions of neutron stars are key to our understanding of the Universe.
When the suns collide it’s visible for a few nights so telescopes are already set up to track them.
The Gravitational Wave Optical Transient Observer (GOTO), tracked them above the clouds on the island of La Palma and will now systematically hunt for them.
Neutron stars weigh billions of tonnes and the telescope which is positioned on the summit of a mountain would get them closer to the stars and would allow the astronomers to see inside them.
When the sun collides they create a flash of light and a powerful shockwave referred to as the gravitational wave. The shockwave would cause everything in the Universe to wobble, including the atoms inside of us.
The operators aim to locate it within hours, or even minutes of the gravitational wave detection. They take photographs of the sky and then digitally remove the stars, planets, and galaxies that were there the previous night. Any speck of light that wasn’t there before may be the colliding neutron stars.
“You would think that these explosions are very energetic, very luminous, it should be easy, but we are having to search through a hundred million stars for the one object that we are interested in,” said astrophysics professor Dr. Joe Lyman.
Once the astronomers locate the collision, they would turn to a larger, more powerful telescope across the world.
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