Aug 29, 2017

Universe gossip: Colliding neutron stars detected

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

There are rumors within the astronomical community that LIGO, the super-advanced gravitational wave observatory, may have spotted the signature of two neutron stars colliding.

What they are: Neutron stars are the collapsed cores of massive stars, and are some of the most exotic objects in the universe. They can form in pairs that eventually collide and release massive amounts of energy. Those collisions also create subtle ripples in gravity that might have been detected by LIGO.

What's new: This specific event was seen with traditional telescopes, but it's the first time the same collision may have been detected from radiation and gravitational waves. The LIGO team is checking the validity of their results.

Why it matters: Much of our universe is hidden from us, and gravitational waves give us access to mysterious events. Vibrations from neutron star mergers, for example, can help us understand the origin of the universe's heaviest elements. Spacetime itself is ringing like a bell — we just need to listen.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 1,426,096 — Total deaths: 81,865 — Total recoveries: 300,054Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 396,223 — Total deaths: 12,722 — Total recoveries: 21,763Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship — Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill.
  4. Business latest: America's food heroes in times of the coronavirus crisis. Even when the economy comes back to life, huge questions for airlines will remain.
  5. World latest: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  6. Wisconsin primary in photos: Thousands gathered to cast ballots in-person during the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
  7. 1 Olympics thing: About 6,500 athletes who qualified for the Tokyo Games will keep their spots in 2021.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Airline industry braces for a forever-changed world

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The airline industry got a $58 billion lifeline in the coronavirus federal aid package. But the path is unclear for these companies, whose operations and prospects will be forever changed by the global pandemic.

Why it matters: People may want to minimize travel for the foreseeable future. Investors, analysts and industry watchers are trying to determine how much airlines will need to spend — and how much more in lost revenue they'll see — while they adapt to the new reality.

Trump denies seeing Navarro memos warning about toll of coronavirus

President Trump said at a press briefing Tuesday that he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning in January and February that the coronavirus crisis could kill more than half a million Americans and cost close to $6 trillion.

Why it matters: Trump insisted that despite not seeing the memos, he did "more or less" what Navarro suggested by banning non-U.S. citizens from traveling from China effective Feb. 2.