Patrick Brady from the University of Wisconsin, US, suggests, “[The mysterious object sits in what is considered the] mass gap [between the two and its discovery] is going to change how scientists talk about neutron stars and black holes.”
Also, Patrik adds, “The mass gap may in fact not exist at all but may have been due to limitations in observational capabilities. Time and more observations will tell.”
Last year, astronomers discovered an object when it fused with a black hole of 23 solar masses, resulting to a black hole with 25 solar masses. This object had a mass 2.6 times greater than that of the Sun. It was located 800 million light-years from the Earth. This event came to be known as GW190814.
Later, some of its mass was detected in the form of energy by the VIRGO detector in Italy and the LIGO detector in US. The report is published by a large international team in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The co-author of the study, Vicky Kalogera from Northwestern University US, says, “It’s a challenge for current theoretical models to form merging pairs of compact objects with such a large mass ratio in which the low-mass partner resides in the mass gap.
“This discovery implies these events occur much more often than we predicted, making this a really intriguing low-mass object.”
The latest event was not seen by light-based telescopes according to the scientists of LIGO detector and VIRGO detector. Why? One, because it was hard to receive a light signal as the object was 6 times distant than the merger spotted in 2017. Two, the collision involved two black holes thus no light signal would have been detected.
Also, some of the scientists doubt the possibility of it being a neutron star swallowed by the massive black hole. This wouldn’t give any light either.
Image Source – Caltech/MIT/LIGO