elliptical galaxy only 130 million light years distant. Gravitational waves were seen first by the ground based LIGO and Virgo observatories, while seconds later the Earth-orbiting Fermi observatory detected gamma-rays, and hours after that Hubble and other observatories detected light throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. Pictured is an animated illustrative movie of the event's likely progenitors. The video depicts hot neutron stars as they spiral in toward each other and emit gravitational radiation. As they merge, a powerful jet extends that drives the short-duration gamma-ray burst, followed by clouds of ejecta and, over time, an optical supernova-type episode called a kilonova. This first coincident detection confirms that LIGO events can be associated with short-duration gamma-ray bursts. Such powerful neutron star mergers are thought to have seeded the universe with many heavy nuclei including the iodine needed for life and the uranium and plutonium needed for nuclear fission power. You may already own a souvenir of one of these explosions -- they are also thought to be the original creators of gold.
Note: This APOD may be updated with links to published journal
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NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: neutron star - gamma-ray burst - gravitational radiation
Publications with words: neutron star - gamma-ray burst - gravitational radiation
- GW190521: Unexpected Black Holes Collide
- A Hotspot Map of Neutron Star J0030s Surface
- Unusual Signal Suggests Neutron Star Destroyed by Black Hole
- Simulation: Two Black Holes Merge
- The Lonely Neutron Star in Supernova E0102 72.3
- NGC 4993: The Galactic Home of an Historic Explosion
- On the Origin of Gold