NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Neutron stars and gamma-ray bursts. Second in a sequence of two artworks which show a possible mechanism for gamma-ray bursts. These extremely powerful bursts of gamma radiation flare and then disappear in a matter of seconds. The two bodies seen here are two neutron stars, originally orbiting in a close orbit, which have merged and released a flash of energy focused into two narrow beams. According to the theory, the gamma-ray burst is seen only when one of the two beams points towards the Earth. Gamma-ray bursts are extra-galactic objects, many at very high redshift. See R670/041 which shows the first artwork in the sequence.
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