2017 Breakthrough – Colliding Stars
In August, scientists witnessed two neutron stars that spiraled into each other making an explosion, and all that at 130 million light-years away. The whole event lasted over nine days. The blast has put the general theory of relativity in the spotlight, it also revealed how many of heavy elements came to the existence, and it confirmed some key astrophysical models.
This is the first time in history that anyone observed the merger of neutron stars, and it is one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of 2017. Scientists detected waves 27 months ago, and that was the breakthrough of 2016 – discovering the gravitational waves.
So, the astronomers concluded that a century ago Einstein was right all along. The theory of general relativity is: when two neutron stars collide, and that will generate a ripple in time and space – a gravitational wave. The scientists made a few wrong theories, despite their predicament, the light that emerged from this process, the ultraviolet, was bluer, and the radio waves became stronger over time. The predicament was that radio waves would eventually fade.
Researchers estimated that this event, mergers of neutron stars, occurs in the Milky Way only once every ten thousand years. The collision made an astonishing flash of light that was brighter than, in comparison, a million suns. The beam of gamma rays that this event emitted resolved the debate where platinum and gold came from. The purely theoretical idea that the sheer force of this kind would be just enough to force the extra neutrons into the nuclei of atoms, and forge heavy elements like platinum, gold, and uranium is not just a theory anymore.
Neutron stars have a crust that is solid ten billion times than steel, and a core that is pure liquid neutrons. It is densest and smallest star known, and it wights at least twice more than the sun. This was two stars approaching death. They circled each other more than thirty times in a second, and then – the rays burst. The scientists who developed Ligo (The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) were awarded the Nobel prize in physics.