A mysterious object detected by gravitational wave sensors about 800 million light years from Earth is either one of the smallest black holes or one of the largest neutron stars discovered so far, scientists said on Wednesday. At the European Gravitational Observatory in Italy, the Advanced Virgo detector and two wave observatories in the US detected the body last year and calculated it to weigh about 2.6 times our own sun.
That places it within the “mass gap” of Universe, referring to almost the complete lack of observed objects between 2.6-5 solar masses. They said the object was formed when another unknown body merged around 800 million years ago with a large black hole, thereby emitting a huge gravitational wave detectable on Earth.
When massive stars burn through their nuclear fuel, and explodes the phenomena is known as supernovae, both neutron and stars and black holes form. Lighter core stars tend to form neutron-stars. However, smaller ones fall into black holes, the density of which is so small that the gravity draws from nearby galaxies in dust and gas.
The object may have been a relatively small neutron star that was effectively “swallowed hole” by a black hole. It can possibly be a PacMan eating a little dot said one of the researchers of LIGO observatory network and a professor at Northwestern University.