AEI / ZIB / M. KOPPITZ AND L. REZZOLLA / GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY AEI / ZIB / M. KOPPITZ AND L. REZZOLLA / GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Neutron stars merging, supercomputer model. Animation (clip 10 of 11) showing two neutron stars (initially yellow) merging to produce a black hole. The left-hand side of the animation shows the density of stellar material and plasma, while the right-hand side shows the (extremely high) magnetic field strength. Neutron stars are immensely dense stellar core remnants, formed after a massive star runs out of hydrogen fuel and its core collapses. By the end of this clip, in a process lasting only tens of milliseconds, the central black hole (grey sphere) has formed. It is surrounded by a disc of super-hot plasma (red), with jet-like magnetic field structures (blue-green) at its poles. Neutron star mergers are thought to produce gamma-ray bursts (GRB), extremely energetic releases of gamma rays (see next clip, K003/2660). The exact process of how such GRBs formed was not known previously, but has now been demonstrated with this model. This simulation was produced by the Damiana supercomputer at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (also called the Albert Einstein Institute or AEI) and researchers at the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB). The full sequence of clips is K003/2670-2660. Animation published in 2011.
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