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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.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

5 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.