In June, a luminous celestial event set the astronomy community buzzing with excitement. The brilliant anomaly, bursting with light 200 million light years away in a distant dwarf galaxy, made it quite unlike a typical exploding star, and scientists have been questioning what the phenomenon could be ever since. Now, astronomers have realized that they captured the exact moment a star collapsed — and perhaps the birth of a black hole or neutron star — for the very first time.
The collapsing star, named AT2018cow — or “the Cow” because of the randomized three-letter naming system used by Astronomer’s Telegram, the online service that first posted about the discovery — was completing the quintessential step before evolving into a compact object, like a neutron star or a black hole. Kate Alexander, Ph.D., a NASA Einstein Fellow at Northwestern University, tells Inverse that the Cow is “highly unusual in many ways.”Read More... The Birth of a Black Hole May Have Just Been Witnessed for the First Time