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Gamma ray burst from colliding neutron stars

Gamma ray burst from colliding neutron stars

C037/4965

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Credit

ESO / N.R. TANVIR, A.J. LEVAN AND THE VIN-ROUGE COLLABORATION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ESO / N.R. TANVIR, A.J. LEVAN AND THE VIN-ROUGE COLLABORATION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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This image may not be used by or to promote the arms, nuclear power or tobacco industries or any religious organisation, or in any discriminatory way, or to imply the endorsement by ESO of any product, service or activity.

Caption

Mosaic of images of the gamma ray burst from two colliding neutron stars in galaxy NGC 4993 (centre of each tile). The gamma ray burst is the light at the 11 o'clock position in the galaxy. The light brightens, becomes much redder and then fades over a number of weeks. This is the first time that the aftermath of such a collision, known as a kilonova, has been witnessed. Kilonova are thought to be the origin for all elements heavier than iron in the universe. This merger also produced gravitational waves and gamma rays, both of which were detected by LIGO-Virgo and Fermi/INTEGRAL detectors respectively on the 17th August 2017. Galaxy NGC 4993 is about 130 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra. Image obtained by the VISTA infrared survey telescope at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory, Chile.

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