If a star is gigantic enough, it can collapse in on itself to form a black hole. Stars that are still huge, but not big enough to become black holes, tend to explode in supernovae, eventually transforming into what is known as a neutron star.

What has long puzzled scientists is that the smallest black holes tend to be at least five times the mass of the Sun, while neutron stars are at most 2.5 times the mass of the Sun. Inside those boundaries lies what has become known as the “mass gap” — a mysterious range between the mass of black holes and neutron stars.

Now, though, a new discovery by a team of European astronomers seems to fit into that gap, suggesting a new class of objects that were thought to be impossible.

Using the National Science Foundation’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Louisiana and the Virgo detector in Italy, a team of experts discovered an unusual celestial object that’s about 2.6 times the mass of the Sun.

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