Mergers between black holes and neutron stars in dense star clusters are quite unlike those that form in isolated regions where stars are few.

Their associated features could be crucial to the study of gravitational waves and their source. Dr. Manuel Arca Sedda of the Institute for Astronomical Computing at Heidelberg University came to this conclusion in a study that used computer simulations. The research may offer critical insights into the fusion of two massive stellar objects that astronomers observed in 2019. The findings were published in the journal Communications Physics.

Stars much more massive than our sun usually end their lives as a neutron star or black hole. Neutron stars emit regular pulses of radiation that allow their detection. In August 2017, for example, when the first double neutron star merger was observed, scientists all around the globe detected light from the explosion with their telescopes. Black holes, on the other hand, usually remain hidden because their gravitational attraction is so strong that even light cannot escape, making them invisible to electromagnetic detectors.

Read more…