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The uncertainty of science: Astronomers now believe that one of the half dozen or so gravitational waves detected by LIGO was likely caused by the merger of two neutron stars.
One of these, GW170817, resulted from the merger of two stellar remnants known as neutron stars. These objects form after stars much more massive than the Sun explode as supernovae, leaving behind a core of material packed to extraordinary densities.
At the same time as the burst of gravitational waves from the merger, observatories detected emission in gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared and radio waves – an unprecedented observing campaign that confirmed the location and nature of the source.
The initial observations of GW170817 suggested that the two neutron stars merged into a black hole, an object with a gravitational field so powerful that not even light can travel quickly enough to escape its grasp.
While intriguing, this result is uncertain, and based on many assumptions.