First confirmed detection of Neutron Star-Black hole mergers: Black holes swallow neutron stars like "Pac-Man"

30 June 2021

CGA scientists are among the international gravitational wave collaborations (LIGO-VIRGO-KAGRA) to celebrate the first confirmed detection of two neutron star and black hole binary mergers. The gravitational waves detected from these two merger events (#GW200105 & #GW200115) that occured a billion years ago, were detected by LIGO and VIRGO detectors in early 2020.

These rare mergers are described as "black holes eating neutron stars like Pac Man". One event included a black hole with a mass nine times bigger than our own sun and a neutron star with two times our sun's mass. The other event included a black hole with about six times the mass of our sun and a neutron star with 1.5 times its mass. The detection of these NS-BH mergers is a giant step towards better understanding some of the most complex mysteries of our universe including the nature of matter, space and time. 

Read more: ANU Media Reseale

Read the technical article: The Astrophysical Journal Letters