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Neutron Star, Meet Black Hole

Neutron Star, Meet Black Hole

[ INTRO] Seeing giant things smash into each other
is one of the great pleasures of astronomy. So it’s no surprise that astronomers were
excited to announce that they’ve seen a collision between two
of the universe’s most extreme objects for the first time: a black hole and a neutron
star. Even cooler, this observation was made not
with light, but with ripples in the fabric of space-time
called gravitational waves. Black holes and neutron stars are the remnants
of giant stars that have undergone a supernova explosion. If the dying star has a core with a mass roughly
two to three times larger than our Sun it ends up as a neutron star — an incredibly dense body made mostly of neutrons. Stars bigger than that collapse all the way
down to a black hole. Large stars often form in binary pairs. And since those big stars will eventually
die, it’s not too surprising to see black holes
and neutron stars orbiting each other. In the past, astronomers have seen black holes
collide with other black holes and even two neutron stars hit one another. But these latest observations mark the first
time an object of each type has been involved in the collision. The event was detected by LIGO and VIRGO, gravitational wave observatories located in
the United States and Italy. Gravitational waves work kind of like someone
sitting down on the couch next to you. You don’t have to see it happen because you can feel how their weight distorts
the cushions. Einstein’s theory of general relativity
says that gravity distorts the fabric of the universe
in much the same way. Because neutron stars and black holes both
have a ton of gravity, their collision sends out a massive disturbance
that can travel an incredible distance — in this case, around 900 million light-years. LIGO and VIRGO detect these gravitational
waves using a technique called interferometry, which combines a pair of lasers pointed at
right angles to one another. When a gravitational wave washes over the
detector, it makes space literally shorter in one direction
and longer in the other. The two lasers thus travel different distances, causing a change in travel time that records
the presence of the wave. This all sounds kind of straightforward, but getting it to actually work was so difficult that it almost immediately scored a Nobel
Prize back in 2017. By combining multiple detectors, scientists can filter out any false positives and triangulate where the event must have
taken place. Seeing the merger between these two kinds
of objects isn’t just a nifty addition to our collection of cool space collisions. Astronomers hope by analyzing how the black
hole ripped the neutron star apart, they can improve their understanding of the
structure of neutron stars, and how resilient they are. Closer to home, this month NASA has announced that its upcoming
Europa Clipper mission has taken an important step forward. The project, which will probably cost about
four billion dollars, has moved from a preliminary draft to its
final design stage. Its goal is to study Jupiter’s moon Europa, which planetary scientists believe conceals
a vast ocean of liquid water under its icy surface. All that water makes Europa perhaps the very
best place in the solar system to search for extraterrestrial life. Although the mission is moving into the next
phase of planning, it hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing for
the Clipper thus far. NASA announced back in March 2019 that it was cancelling development of a key
instrument designed to measure the depth of Europa’s
hidden ocean. The device, called a magnetometer, would have precisely measured the magnetic
fields created by currents of electricity within the ocean. But tests showed that the sensor, which was already three times over-budget, would have struggled to handle the intense
radiation environment around Jupiter. Instead NASA will replace the specially designed
magnetometer with a more generic type used on other missions. This off-the-shelf part will be more reliable,
but less precise: instead of measuring the ocean’s depth to
within 20 kilometers, it could be off by as much as a hundred. And, if the ocean is particularly conductive
to electricity, the sensor may not return much information
at all. That’s not ideal, but eliminating mission components that threaten
the progress of the overall project is a key element in the design review process. There’s also uncertainty about how the spacecraft
will actually get to Jupiter. While Congress has mandated that the Europa
Clipper fly aboard NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System, that rocket won’t even be available until
years after the satellite itself is ready in 2023. The mission could instead launch on schedule
aboard a commercial rocket like the Falcon Heavy for a fraction of the price, but the trip would be slower and require a
tricky flyby of Venus along the way. Still, these kinds of uncertainties are normal
for a mission as complex and ambitious as the Europa Clipper. The fact that NASA has given mission planners
the green light to move ahead is a big deal and takes us one step closer
to exploring yet another new place in the solar system. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow
Space News! If you like showing off your love of space
exploration, you should know that it’s your last chance
to order our August DFTBA Pin of the Month! It’s a super cute Curiosity rover, and when
August is over, so are the pre-orders for this pin! They’ll ship in September, at which point
we’ll be accepting orders for a whole new space-themed pin. But not this one! It’ll be gone, I’m so sorry. Here’s another one you can’t get, it’s
from July. But look at how pretty they are! And they have two pin-backs so they don’t
spin around. So they’re just like right where you want
them. Go to to learn more! [ OUTRO ]

100 comments on “Neutron Star, Meet Black Hole

  1. You didn't tell us what happened. Did the neutron star gather more material and just shrink into its own black hole or did the neutron star gets swallowed by the black hole with which it collided or did the neutron stars lose material and start nuclear fusion in the core?

  2. it's incredibly inaccurate to say that black holes and Neutron stars have a 'ton' of gravity, in a multitude of ways! – Still a great vid as always

  3. A NEUTRON STAR IS SO DENSE THAT IF AN OBJECT WAS DROPPED FROM ONE METER ABOVE THE STAR’S SURFACE, IT WOULD HIT THE SURFACE AT A SPEED OF 7.2 MILLION KM PER HOUR- and that's without even considering the fastest rotating neutron star. I wanted to know what the neutron star's crust actually does when pressed even closer together…

  4. How can you triangulate a point in 3d space from two points when it takes three in a 2D environment? Is it like 2 can be enough in 2D if one of the answer does not make sense, like being on a land on a map when it should be in the ocean when triangulating the position of a ship?

  5. Magnetometer switched to cover up the life already found in Europa’s ocean. Only half kidding as I’m not into conspiracies, but I did see The Europa Project.

  6. So they confirmed that it was indeed a neutron star black hole merger? Last i read about the news weeks ago they were looking for visual cues to say for sure it was it. Have they found that yet?

  7. 1:43 – Doesn't it depend on the direction in which the gravitational wave comes in? What if it comes in perpendicular to both arms, especially at their intersection? 🤨 Are the two arms the same length? Making them different lengths can help mitigate the aforementioned issue. Even then, how can they rely on the accuracy and precision of their measurements? What if the wires have difference compositions and conductances or other differences in materials and timings? 🤔
    2:06 – She glossed over the part about the multiple detectors. 🤦 To be clear, it's not multiple detectors like the ones at the ends of each arm of LIGO; she means multiple detectors with the whole of LIGO being one, and Virgo in Italy being another.

  8. I understand that they detected a distortion in the fabric of spacetime but how did they identified it was a Neutron star and BH Collosion? I mean how do they differentiate between these binary collisions?

  9. Why do all the SciShow channels edit out micro pauses between sentences? Is punctuation evil? Will the audience's feeble attention span cause them to loose interest unless the monologue is one unbroken wall of sound?

  10. "Seeing giant things smash intl each other, is one of the great pleasures of astronomy."

    Yes, that's why I like it, thank you. 😂

  11. Minor pet peeve:
    Does anything actually "have" gravity?
    Gravity is a force and as such nobody has it so much as they exert it. Things only actually have potential to use some force, right?
    Like, no real point the video tried to make is obscured by claiming something "has" gravity, but it's a little imprecise. – The thing the object has to grant it the ability to exert gravity on another thing is actually mass. These objects have a lot of mass. 🙂

  12. 4:05 Maybe if NASA wasn't so horribly budgeted. Building and launching obsolete rockets at the whim of corrupt politicians just to fill a few pockets full of cash. SpaceX/Virgin are our future. Not a govt program bogged down by bureaucracy and red tape.

  13. I hear NASA is going to buy a new trampoline to get the rockets into space since they lost the plans to the Saturn 5 rocket.

  14. Woah , this was amazing but isn't it fascinating that all these events we come to know about universe happened in the past and we don't know what's going on in the universe at present 😯 .

  15. Title is misleading, did not talk about the event caused by a neutron star falling into a black hole, rather talked about the instrument used to measure it…

  16. Everything about space is so cool but so impossibly difficult to fully comprehend without another couple hundreds of years worth of technologically improvements.

  17. Wouldn't it be more correct (but still just as easy to understand) to say that mass and/or energy are what distort the fabric of the universe as opposed to gravity? Doesn't GR essentially say that gravity is just a fictitious force and that it's really all spacetime curvature? Great video otherwise!

  18. 1:23 "a ton of gravity" Understatement of the century…
    "Ton", being an actual unit of mass, is kinda a weird metaphor to use here…

  19. so this is pointless. we cant see it. but it happend ? nah. sory idc about gravitywaves. because you cant see them. so this did not happen. why not say gravity waves found aliens. same bs.

  20. YouTube recommendation algorithms can not distinguish between sarcasm and praise in the comments section. If you are putting something down then don't spell it correctly.

    Having said the above. [email protected] hole$ are the fairies of annoying astrophysicists.

  21. How do they know it was a neutron star and a blackhole, and how will we learn anything about neutron stars other than their location?

  22. The random noise in the lower performance magnetometer could be compensated for by having more measurements to work with. When you average noisy data, the noise tends to reduce following sqrt(N). Thus it may be more useful to work on extending the life of the spacecraft.

  23. Would a neutron star hold itself together or be ripped apart like a normal star, on its descent into the black hole?

  24. Hmm.. funny.. she said we’d get to see how resilliant a neutron star is then proceeded to say the black hole shredded it then crunched it into nothing… doesn’t sound very resilliant to me.. it got owned and destroyed.. that is the opposite of resilliant lol

  25. Didn't even know that we were interested in Jupiter……seeing that it is not habitable by humans in any way. Why spend money on something that doesn't help us now????

  26. I'm terrified of the Asteroid!! I don't wanna die OR go back to the stone age! I'm freaking out. I have so much I wanna do!😭😭😭😭😭

  27. But what actually differentiates gravity from light. If it's only that gravity has a much longer wavelength corresponding to it's source then that would answer many questions about it. After all, different forms of light are detected differently. A microwave detector for instance looks much different from a radar detector.

  28. Heard that the black hole has gone rogue in our milky way is it possible you can discuss this in a future ep? Please and thank you

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