The recent attention on the neutron star merger GW170817 has made many people, who would not otherwise come across astronomy online, curious about space and specifically gravitational waves sources like neutron stars. I love this type of star so what is more fitting than to spread the love. I previously presented you three crazy features in neutron stars, one of them being the accreting nature in binary systems - and these are exactly the systems we will look into here.
These days neutron stars are big in the media, partially because they are such extreme objects. But what exactly is a neutron star - and how do you put something so extreme into perspective? Let's try.
Neutron stars are the origin of the current media wave around GW170817. I would argue that neutron stars are more interesting than black holes simply because they are the densest objects in the Universe, that still obeys out known laws of physics. Whereas thinking too much about black holes and your head explodes.
Monday earlier this week the internet exploded with the news from ESO that two neutron stars merged in the galaxy NGC4993 located 130 million light years away. This was measured on August 17 this year and the discovery was therefore named GW170817, which is short for 'Gravitational Wave on August 17, 2017' as measured by LIGO in USA and Virgo in Europe.
Yesterday ESO announced the discovery of gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation, that originated from a neutron star merger in a galaxy far, far away. Media from all over the world covered the story as it was revealed that some 3,000 scientists had worked for six weeks to decipher the signal, that was received in multiple telescopes and observatories on August 17 this year.