The First Birth of a Compact Neutron Star Binary Seen by the Astronomers


Carnegie’s Anthony Piro was part of a Caltech-led team that brought to light new discoveries and theories all reported by Science. They examined the explosion of a large, dead star that might had a big impact in creating a neutron star binary system.

Kishalay De, the lead author and Mansi Kasliwal, the project principal investigator, came up with the hypothesis that the star had a mysterious object following it, but the gravitation pushed it away before the supernova incident.

If the neutron star binary really was created after the explosion, it will be the first that scientists had the opportunity to observe one while happening. The same experience happened in August 2017 with Piro and astronomers of Carnegie and UC Santa Cruz when they witness the first time a binary system collide.

A supernova is the result of a star that has a mass eight times more that the Sun, that spreads its nuclear fuel causing an intensely explosion. All that would be left will be a dense neutron star. But the team of astronomers suggests that what they observed is only a fifth part of the Sun’s mass.

“We saw this massive star’s core collapse, but we saw remarkably little mass ejected. We call this an ultra-stripped envelope supernova and it has long been predicted that they exist. This is the first time we have convincingly seen core collapse of a massive star that is so devoid of matter.” Kishalay De reported.

The investigations and observations were taken after the theoretical model of the dense materials by Piro.

“Discoveries like this demonstrate why it has been so important to build a theoretical astrophysics group at Carnegie, by combining observations and theory together, we can learn so much more about these amazing events.”

The researcher’s theory is that a star needs to have a lot of material before it collapses, so is possible that the missing mass to be taken by a black hole or by a companion star, since they cannot detect it. The neutron star resulted from the supernova must have been from the same orbit as its compact companion but they will end up in a collision since they are too close to each other. This event was what Piro and a team of astronomers from Carnegie and UC Santa Cruz saw back in August 2017 at Palomar Observatory as part of Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF). The iPTF 14gqr was so careful and in details observed that it was possible to see it from the beginning of its explosion. Astronomers from around the world worked together at this research due to the rotation of the Earth using the best telescopes form the Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) network.


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