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Astrophysicists detect first black hole-neutron star mergers

An artistic image inspired by a black hole-neutron star merger event. Credit: Carl Knox, OzGrav/Swinburne

First-ever detection of a black hole merging with a neutron star

A long time ago, in two galaxies about 900 million light-years away, two black holes each gobbled up their neutron star companions, triggering gravitational waves that finally hit Earth in January 2020.

Discovered by an international team of astrophysicists including Northwestern University researchers, two events -- detected just 10 days apart -- mark the first-ever detection of a black hole merging with a neutron star. The findings will enable researchers to draw the first conclusions about the origins of these rare binary systems and how often they merge.

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