MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Binary neutron stars. Computer illustration of a binary system of neutron stars. A neutron star is the remains of a massive star which collapsed under its own gravity after its nuclear reactions ceased. Neutron stars are the density of matter in an atomic nucleus, and have a mass of up to three times that of the Sun despite being only around 10 kilometres across. Neutron stars in orbit around each other would spiral inward and eventually collide, releasing energy. This has been suggested as one cause of gamma ray bursts, although other theories for these phenomena exist.
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