LIGO: Second Merger of Neutron Stars detected
The LIGO (Laser Inferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) detected gravitational waves due to collision of two neutron stars. This is the second time the gravitational waves are being detected.
The mass of the neutron stars detected is expected to be 3.3 times and 3.7 times as that of the sun. The scientists believe that the neutron stars were formed separately and drifted together to form a star pair. The neutron stars were at a distance of 520 million light years from the earth. The combined mass is the heaviest of the stars known so far.
The first neutron star detection was in 2017. However, the second event that was recorded now, is not as strong as the first.
Currently LIGO operates three gravitational wave detectors at Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford. They are located 3,000 km apart in the shape of ‘L’.
LIGO India is to come up in Maharashtra. It will aim at locating gravitational waves and their new sources.
Why is the study important?
The gravitational waves are caused by exploding stars, black holes, merging neutron stars. LIGO helps to detect these waves and analyze the information that they carry. As the waves interact very weakly with matter, they help to learn about the universe and its origin.