Artist’s impression of two neutron stars merging

This artist’s impression shows two tiny but very dense neutron stars at the point at which they merge and explode as a kilonova. Such a very rare event is expected to produce both gravitational waves and a short gamma-ray burst, both of which were observed on 17 August 2017 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo Interferometer, and ESA’s INTEGRAL telescope and NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope respectively. Subsequent detailed observations with telescopes all over the world, including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, confirmed that this object, seen in the galaxy NGC 4993 about 130 million light-years from the Earth, is indeed a kilonova. Such objects are the main source of very heavy chemical elements, such as gold and platinum, in the Universe.

Credit:

ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser

About the Image

Id:heic1717b
Type:Artwork
Release date:16 October 2017, 16:00
Related releases:heic1717
Size:5000 x 3293 px

About the Object

Type:Local Universe : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Neutron Star
Category:Illustrations

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