Eposode 118: Danger. Keep out!

Comic Transcript

Panel 1.
Epo: We are approaching the black hole neutron star binary system.
Alkina: Excellent, any sign of Wosec’s ship?

Panel 2.
Epo: Not yet, but I am detecting a communication beacon.
Alkina: What’s it saying?

Panel 3.
[Epo’s display reads “Danger: Astro-demolition area. Keep Out.”]
Alkina: This has to be the place! Move us in so we can look for Wosec.

Panel 4.
Epo: We are receiving another transmission.
Over the Speakers: This is the demolition ship Burton, what part of “Danger” and “Keep Out” are you having trouble understanding?

Panel 5.
Alkina: Sorry about that, but we came quite a long way to find you. We need to talk to Wosec Godilhase, is he on board?

Panel 6.
Over the Speakers: Oh yeah, he’s here, but he’s a just little busy with the whole pushing a neutron star into a black hole thing. If you come aboard you can wait for him.
Alkina: We’re on our way.

In human speak please!

The last of our sources for gamma-ray bursts is a collision between a black hole and another massive body, like another black hole, or in this case a neutron star. Just like a system with two neutron stars orbiting one another, scientists think that some GRBs may be systems where a black hole and a neutron star orbit each other, slowly losing energy in the form of gravitational waves. Eventually, the neutron star and black hole will collide, creating another black hole that is more massive. The energy released in this kind of a collision is enough to create a gamma-ray burst.