Scientists Are Baffled By a Bizarre Black Hole-Like Object

Mass Gap

Last week, astrophysicists announced a bizarre, unprecedented celestial object that sits smack in the middle of the theoretical divider separating black holes from neutron stars.

The object, too small to be a black hole and too large to be a neutron star according to existing models, has astronomers baffled about where this thing came from, Scientific American reports. But whatever this thing is, it makes perfectly clear that the rules we use to understand the universe aren’t quite as solid as we expected.

Middling Out

The problem is the object’s unusual mass: at 2.6 times the mass of the Sun, it’s 0.1 solar mass heavier than the theoretical upper limit for neutron stars, according to research in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. But the smallest black holes we know about are at least five solar masses, putting the object in no man’s land

“The idea of a mass gap as a true gap with nothing in it, I think, is getting progressively destroyed,” Philippe Landry, a LIGO member at California State University, Fullerton, told SciAm. “This is going to be one nail in the coffin.”

Now What

Accepting that the object, which has been dubbed a “black neutron star,” exists is just step one. Now astronomers have to grapple with where it came from, and whether it’s a tiny black hole or the result of a merger.

“It could be that these objects are very difficult to make,” Syracuse University astronomer Duncan Brown told SciAm, “but once in a blue moon, a supernova explosion lands you there.”

READ MORE: Mystery Object Blurs Line between Neutron Stars and Black Holes [Scientific American]

More on whatever this thing is: Astronomers May Have Discovered First-Ever “Black Neutron Star”

Latest articles

Zendaya And John David Washington Shot A Movie In Quarantine

Celebrity·Updated 3 minutes ago. Posted 33 minutes agoThe cast and crew took COVID-19 tests and were not allowed...

Why is there so little evidence on what police reforms work?

When criminologist Robin Engel suddenly found herself leading the effort to reform a police department under fire after a white police officer killed...

CEBL hopes use of target-score finish will create heroes every game

A game-winning shot — every game. That will be the new normal when the Canadian Elite Basketball League returns July 25 with...

Dear Joe Biden: Don’t Listen to Silicon Valley

Dear Vice President Biden, In this moment when a pandemic, an economic contraction, and protests against racism have combined to trigger national self-reflection,...

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here