Ripples in spacetime suggest a black hole swallowed a neutron star

first_img Taking 3 and 5🌞masses as our “cut-off” labels for #NeutronStars or #BlackHoles is a useful rule-of-thumb but it could be wrong – or at least not the full picture. So #S190814bv *could* still be 2 merging #BlackHoles… Lots more careful analysis may tell us the answer!… 3/5 pic.twitter.com/0RSc5jk0xc— LIGO (@LIGO) August 17, 2019 7 Tags 16 Photos That throws up an exciting possibility that one of the black holes would be lighter than any black hole we’ve ever seen before. We can’t lose!If the event is confirmed as a neutron star-black hole merger, it would complete LIGO and Virgo’s trifecta of cosmic detections. The facilities have seen black holes merge with black holes and neutron stars merge with neutron stars, but they’ve never seen the two obliterate one another.The next step is to focus telescopes on the small section of the sky S190814bv came from. It’s relatively close, by cosmic standards, at just 900 million light-years away. The gravitational waves race out faster than other electromagnetic waves, giving astronomers a chance to try and detect other signals emitted by the event. What will we see?”We will either see a neutron star being ripped apart by a black hole, or getting swallowed whole like Pac-Man swallowing a ghost,” says Simon Stevenson, an astronomer with Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. “Either way, we are in for a show!”  Share your voicecenter_img What is a black hole? The universe’s dark, mysterious monsters Comments Black hole, meet neutron star. Neutron star, this is black hole. Play nice. Carl Knox/OzGrav ARC Centre of Excellence Astronomers watching the cosmos for faint ripples in space-time may have detected a black hole swallowing up a neutron star for the very first time. Gravitational wave observatories in the US and Europe were switched back on after upgrades in April to hunt for these extreme cosmic events, and since then have detected 23 potential cosmic wobbles. The latest is perhaps the most exciting yet — and it’s also potentially the most puzzling.The event, designated S190814bv, was detected on Aug. 14 by the finely-tuned lasers of the twin LIGO detectors in the US and the Virgo detector in Italy. The facilities picked up ripples in the fabric of the universe and have, tentatively, suggested they resulted from a collision between a black hole and a small, dense star known as a “neutron star”.The facilities have seen potential black hole-neutron star collisions in the past, but none have been adequately verified. Since switching back on in April, only three candidates for this insane type of cosmic collision have been presented with varying levels of confidence. That’s because the detectors are so fine-tuned they sometimes flag noise as real events.For S190814bv, the chance the newly-detected signal is just noise is 1 in 10 septillion years.That would even put Han Solo off believing S190814bv is anything but a neutron star-black hole merger, but the researchers are still urging caution. It could be, they say, two merging black holes. Sci-Techlast_img read more

Harvey Means More Jobs But Does It Mean More Exploitation Too

first_img Share Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /00:00 – / 5Officials estimate Hurricane Harvey has damaged more than 126,000 homes in the Houston region. Putting things back together is a monumental job, requiring thousands of workers. But it may also be raising a risk for the most vulnerable of workers: day laborers.Like many large cities, Houston has dozens of corners where day laborers gather to find work. Many of them are undocumented, like Jose David Lizardo. He said he comes to this corner on most days, to find work.“After the catastrophe there was a lot of work,” Lizardo said, in Spanish. “But previously, there was very little [work].”And while jobs are in abundance, Lizardo said it’s difficult when an employer refuses to pay him, or puts him in danger.  “Most of the time, they come only for the labor. They do not take safety into account, [or] the protection for the workers,” Lizardo said. “These days we see a lot of racism. They see us and they know we are Hispanic. They specifically go where the Hispanics are, because they know we are looking for work….There is some fear [to report abuse], because we are not protected.”Lizardo said he feels like workers in the undocumented community are not protected, especially with the emergence of Texas’ so-called “anti-sanctuary cities” law, Senate Bill 4.  And Marianela Acuña Arreaza, Executive Director of the Fe y Justicia Worker Center, said recovery storm work augments already existing problems.“After a storm, there is definitely the urgency to get a lot of work done…. But at the same time, protecting people’s ability to take breaks when they need them. Especially when they’re still dealing with other safety risks. For example, like heat and lack of ventilation and things like that,” said Acuña. “That always exist in Houston, even before storm, but is so much worse after.”In Texas, private employers have the choice whether to provide workers’ compensation, if an injury happens on the job. That’s different than most states. And Houston Lawyer Tom Padgett said natural disasters bring up a flurry of potential hazards.“There’s going to be a big danger of exposure to chemicals, mold, disease, bacteria. That floodwater was a toxic mix—just a toxic environment,” said Padgett. “And working in those environments, you have to have the proper safety equipment.”Under federal law, all workers are entitled to safe working conditions. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it has 23 staff members operating in the Houston area, to identify hazards and keep safety a priority during clean up. But Padgett said it’s inherently difficult for OSHA regulations to be enforced – especially after Harvey.“I think it would be virtually impossible,” said Padgett. “If we even had enough OSHA regulators to go around and monitor, and check and make sure employers are doing it properly, they wouldn’t be able to be everywhere they needed to be.”Padgett said the economic stress that comes with post-hurricane work is also a perfect storm for wage theft.Acuña said wage theft is already a huge issue in Texas, and she has already received complaints from workers who say they are victims of wage theft from Harvey-related work.Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/29110257/wage-theft-video-fixed.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Acuña provided News 88.7 with this cell phone video. She said it’s from a worker who claims to have been a victim of wage theft, after working on a flooded apartment complex on the west side of Houston.But there’s also another wrinkle to post-Harvey recovery work, if you look at today’s political climate.According to the Migration Policy Institute, just under a quarter of the undocumented population in Texas works in construction. That’s over 200,000 workers who are especially vulnerable, when faced with employment issues.And undocumented worker Jose David Lizardo said it has been a problem. In addition to general wage theft and safety issues, Lizardo told News 88.7 people have routinely shouted slurs at Hispanic workers, who wait on Houston corners for day jobs. He even said one of his past employers, in Louisiana, made workers wear “Make America Great Again” hats.Lizardo said he sends money over to his family of seven, back in Honduras. And while he would like to fight for money he claims he’s owed, according to Lizardo, there’s not enough time to deal with it. He has to keep going.EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been corrected. The Migration Policy Institute’s statistic is just under a quarter of Texas’ undocumented population works in construction; not just under a quarter of Texas construction workers are undocumented.  Xlast_img read more