Technology

Collapse of star captured for the first time


Researchers from Northwestern University in the US are getting closer to understanding the mysteriously bright object that burst in the northern sky this summer.


On June 17, the ATLAS survey's twin telescopes in Hawaii found a spectacularly bright anomaly 200 million light years away in the Hercules constellation.


This rare event will help astronomers better understand the physics at play within the first moments of the creation of a black hole or neutron star.


"We think that 'The Cow' is the formation of an accreting black hole or neutron star," said Raffaella Margutti, from Northwestern University, who led the research.


Researchers examined The Cow's chemical composition, finding clear evidence of hydrogen and helium, which excluded models of compact objects merging - like those that produce gravitational waves.


The lack of material allowed astronomers to peer straight through to the object's "central engine," which revealed itself as a probable black hole or neutron star.






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