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Jerrod Fenton 2018-04-04
img

An illustration of a neutron star collision creating platinum, gold, and other precious heavy elements.

Neutron stars that crash together in space forge valuable metals like silver, gold, and platinum.

Europium, one of the least-common elements in the universe, is a candidate and is used in TVs, lasers, and plastics.

A neutron-star collision discovered through gravitational waves made about 1-5 Earths' worth of the europium, according to a new study.

This material almost immediately decayed into lighter elements, leading to a bright, radioactive "kilonova" astronomers could see some 85 million to 160 million light-years away from Earth.

Researchers who've pored over the data since last year now think the collision also made 1-5 Earth masses of a very rare element called europium, according to a recent study in The Astrophysical Journal.

collect
0
Jason Kowalski 2018-11-30
img

(NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab)

Gravity is big and weird and difficult to study.

But these waves are subtle and difficult to detect.

They occur in measurable amounts only after massive events, like the collision of black holes.

Humanity didn't spot its first gravitational wave until 2015.

Then, in 2017, astronomers for the first time detected both gravitational waves and light from a single event: a neutron star collision.

collect
0
Thomas Park 2018-06-08
img

In August 2017, for the first time ever, scientists spotted gravitational waves generated by the merger of two superdense stellar corpses known as neutron stars.

This landmark find was a major step forward in understanding the cosmos, astronomers have stressed.

At the time, scientists suggested that this dramatic event, officially cataloged as GW170817, could have created a black hole — and a new analysis backs this supposition up.

[Neutron-Star Crash: A Gravitational Waves Discovery in Pictures]

In the new study, researchers analyzed data gathered by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatoryafter the gravitational waves — ripples in space-time first predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago — were detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project.

But the study team is putting its money on the black-hole interpretation.

collect
0
Robert Flowers 2017-12-20
img

August’s landmark observation of two colliding neutron stars was incredible for its immediate impact on astronomy.

It answered questions, like “where did the universe’s gold come from” and “how fast is the universe expanding?” But it left behind mysteries, too.

Like, “what the hell is going on with those gamma rays?”

Even with the first announcement, scientists wondered why the collision’s gamma rays looked weaker than expected.

But a few new papers have released further data on the collision’s radio waves and x-rays—and demonstrate that the story probably isn’t as cut-and-dried as that.

On 17 August, observatories across the world spotted GW170817, the result of two colliding stars, each a little heavier than the sun but only the size of a small city.

collect
0
Joan Zappulla 2017-10-18
img

On August 17, 2017, over 70 observatories around (and above) the world, including ones like LIGO and the Hubble Space Telescope, all spotted a flash of energy.

This light came in many different flavors, and was consistent with a pair of dense neutron stars colliding in a cataclysmic “kilonova” explosion.

You’re probably familiar with the fact that light travels as a wave of radiation, and the colour is determined by the distance between wave peaks, or wavelength.

The distance between peaks for the colour blue is around 450 nanometres, and around 700 nanometres for the colour red.

But there are much smaller and larger wavelengths, too.

But each different wavelength of light fills in a different part of our overall understanding, like another ingredient in a recipe.

collect
0
Ronald Black 2017-10-18
img

On August 17, 2017, over 70 observatories around (and above) the world, including ones like LIGO and the Hubble Space Telescope, all spotted a flash of energy.

This light came in many different flavors, and was consistent with a pair of dense neutron stars colliding in a cataclysmic “kilonova” explosion.

You’re probably familiar with the fact that light travels as a wave of radiation, and the colour is determined by the distance between wave peaks, or wavelength.

The distance between peaks for the colour blue is around 450 nanometres, and around 700 nanometres for the colour red.

But there are much smaller and larger wavelengths, too.

But each different wavelength of light fills in a different part of our overall understanding, like another ingredient in a recipe.

collect
0
Donny Stiteler 2019-07-08
img

Gravitational waves are huge disturbances in the fabric of space-time, caused by immensely energetic astronomical events that ripple out across the universe.

And now researchers are turning to gravitational waves to help reveal some of the lingering mysteries of the universe.

If you look at galaxies from the Earth, in any direction, you'll find that they all seem to be moving away from us.

Right now, researchers have two ways to estimate the Hubble constant: They can study the background radiation leftover since the Big Bang or they can study huge stars ("Type 1a supernova") blowing up in the distant universe.

As it stands, the Hubble constant they get using the two methods is vastly different.

In a paper published Monday in the journal Nature, an international team of astronomers used gravitational waves, generated by a merger of two incredibly dense neutron stars, to refine the measurement of the Hubble constant.

collect
0
Jerrod Fenton 2018-07-17
img

A so-far unseen celestial collision could be astronomers' best bet for figuring out just how quickly the universe is expanding.

Right now, physicists have two ways of measuring that expansion rate, and both are quite precise — but their answers don't match.

That's been frustrating, since the number, known as the Hubble constant, feeds calculations like the ones scientists use to estimate how old the universe is.

And that's why they're looking for a third method to pin it down.

A pair of scientists based in Massachusetts think the trick will be catching a glimpse of the violent phenomenon of a black hole and a neutron star colliding.

[Did a Neutron-Star Collision Make a Black Hole?]

collect
0
Joseph Wiles 2018-09-05
img

Open up your eyes and look around: It's just an illusion

A recently observed neutron star collision was so violent it sprayed jets of radio signals that appeared to travel faster than light, it has just emerged.

The cosmic prang – logged as GW170817 after the resulting gravitational wave detected in mid-2017 – involved two neutron stars running into one another in NGC 4993, a galaxy 130 million light years away.

The crash blew out a stash of goodies for boffins on our home world to study.

However, they weren’t quite sure if this outpouring of energy also included super-fast jets of radio signals.

Eggheads suggested these powerful emissions go hand in hand with gamma ray bursts typically seen from neutron star mergers.

collect
0
Letha Byrd 2019-08-22
img

When two neutron stars collide, the matter at their core enters extreme states.

The HADES long-term experiment, involving more than 110 scientists, has been investigating forms of cosmic matter since 1994.

With the investigation of electromagnetic radiation arising when stars collide, the team has now focused attention on the hot, dense interaction zone between two merging neutron stars.

According to estimates, none has ever happened in our galaxy, the Milky Way.

This enabled the HADES team to simulate the conditions in merging stars at the microscopic level in the heavy ion accelerator at the Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) in Darmstadt.

As in a neutron star collision, when two heavy ions are slammed together at close to the speed of light, electromagnetic radiation is produced.

collect
0
Thomas Owens 2017-10-19
img

A global scientific project has finally observed the collision of neutron stars, directly, for the first time, with great significance for cracking enduring challenges in astrophysics around gravitational waves and gamma ray bursts.

Prof Soebur Razzaque from the University of Johannesburg's (UJ) contributed theoretical modelling of the expected behavior of gamma rays when neutron stars collide to the discovery.

"In 1916, Albert Einstein predicted gravitational waves or ripples in space-time, squeezing and squashing of dimensions, due to violent movement of massive objects in the universe.

"However, gravitational waves are very faint and their detection is extremely challenging.

It was only on September 14, 2015, that the first Gravitational Wave event, known among researchers as GW150914, was finally detected.

Prof Razzaque, along with the thousands of other scientists working on the challenge, expected that a neutron star merger would produce gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation, in the form of a burst of gamma rays emitted during the collision.

collect
0
Daniel Slye 2019-10-24
img

First time heavy elements spotted in neutron star collision

For the first time astroboffins have discovered strontium, a heavy element nestled near the bottom left hand side of the periodic table, being manufactured in space by the collision of two neutron stars.

The findings, reported in a paper in Nature on Wednesday, are a vital piece of the puzzle to understanding how elements heavier than iron are forged in the universe.

“This is the final stage of a decades-long chase to pin down the origin of the elements,” said Darach Watson, first author of the paper and an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

It’s well known that elements are produced in the cores of hot stars.

As atomic nuclei larger than hydrogen and helium fuse together under the heat, heavier elements are made.

collect
0
Jason Kowalski 2019-05-12
img

If you enjoy a bit of bling in your life, you could have a billion year old cosmic event to thank for it.

Scientists believe that the collision of two neutron stars 4.6 billion years ago could have been the source of some of Earth’s heaviest elements, including gold and platinum.

Neutron stars are incredibly dense and heavy, and when two collide the event is violent and epic.

One such collision is believed to have occurred close to our solar system, at a distance of about 1000 light-years away, about 100 million years before the Earth was formed.

“If a comparable event happened today at a similar distance from the solar system, the ensuing radiation could outshine the entire night sky,” Astrophysicist Szabolcs Márka from Columbia University said in a statement.

The collision would have sent heavy elements spiraling out into the dust cloud of our early solar system.

collect
0
William Cutright 2017-10-17
img

LIGO boffins pinpoint space prang 130m light years away

Barely two years after it came online, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has scored a double success.

Last week, the instrument earned its creators a Nobel Prize – and this week we're told it helped spot the first neutron star collision from both its gravitational wave and radiation emissions.

At 0841 ET (1241 UTC) on August 17, LIGO picked up the longest gravitational wave signal detected to date, named GW170817, and a short gamma ray burst.

After poring over these readings from the LIGO equipment, astronomers today said they were able to pinpoint where the incredible explosion occurred, and orientated their telescopes to get a good look at what happened.

Sure enough, 130 million light years away, there it was in the galaxy NGC 4993: two neutron stars, caught in a death spiral, slammed into each other, triggering what was detected by LIGO on Earth as a 100-second long gravitational wave, a two-second flash of gamma radiation, and in the days and weeks after the impact, other electromagnetic radiation — including X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared and radio waves.

collect
0
Jerrod Fenton 2018-04-04
img

An illustration of a neutron star collision creating platinum, gold, and other precious heavy elements.

Neutron stars that crash together in space forge valuable metals like silver, gold, and platinum.

Europium, one of the least-common elements in the universe, is a candidate and is used in TVs, lasers, and plastics.

A neutron-star collision discovered through gravitational waves made about 1-5 Earths' worth of the europium, according to a new study.

This material almost immediately decayed into lighter elements, leading to a bright, radioactive "kilonova" astronomers could see some 85 million to 160 million light-years away from Earth.

Researchers who've pored over the data since last year now think the collision also made 1-5 Earth masses of a very rare element called europium, according to a recent study in The Astrophysical Journal.

Thomas Park 2018-06-08
img

In August 2017, for the first time ever, scientists spotted gravitational waves generated by the merger of two superdense stellar corpses known as neutron stars.

This landmark find was a major step forward in understanding the cosmos, astronomers have stressed.

At the time, scientists suggested that this dramatic event, officially cataloged as GW170817, could have created a black hole — and a new analysis backs this supposition up.

[Neutron-Star Crash: A Gravitational Waves Discovery in Pictures]

In the new study, researchers analyzed data gathered by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatoryafter the gravitational waves — ripples in space-time first predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago — were detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project.

But the study team is putting its money on the black-hole interpretation.

Joan Zappulla 2017-10-18
img

On August 17, 2017, over 70 observatories around (and above) the world, including ones like LIGO and the Hubble Space Telescope, all spotted a flash of energy.

This light came in many different flavors, and was consistent with a pair of dense neutron stars colliding in a cataclysmic “kilonova” explosion.

You’re probably familiar with the fact that light travels as a wave of radiation, and the colour is determined by the distance between wave peaks, or wavelength.

The distance between peaks for the colour blue is around 450 nanometres, and around 700 nanometres for the colour red.

But there are much smaller and larger wavelengths, too.

But each different wavelength of light fills in a different part of our overall understanding, like another ingredient in a recipe.

Donny Stiteler 2019-07-08
img

Gravitational waves are huge disturbances in the fabric of space-time, caused by immensely energetic astronomical events that ripple out across the universe.

And now researchers are turning to gravitational waves to help reveal some of the lingering mysteries of the universe.

If you look at galaxies from the Earth, in any direction, you'll find that they all seem to be moving away from us.

Right now, researchers have two ways to estimate the Hubble constant: They can study the background radiation leftover since the Big Bang or they can study huge stars ("Type 1a supernova") blowing up in the distant universe.

As it stands, the Hubble constant they get using the two methods is vastly different.

In a paper published Monday in the journal Nature, an international team of astronomers used gravitational waves, generated by a merger of two incredibly dense neutron stars, to refine the measurement of the Hubble constant.

Joseph Wiles 2018-09-05
img

Open up your eyes and look around: It's just an illusion

A recently observed neutron star collision was so violent it sprayed jets of radio signals that appeared to travel faster than light, it has just emerged.

The cosmic prang – logged as GW170817 after the resulting gravitational wave detected in mid-2017 – involved two neutron stars running into one another in NGC 4993, a galaxy 130 million light years away.

The crash blew out a stash of goodies for boffins on our home world to study.

However, they weren’t quite sure if this outpouring of energy also included super-fast jets of radio signals.

Eggheads suggested these powerful emissions go hand in hand with gamma ray bursts typically seen from neutron star mergers.

Thomas Owens 2017-10-19
img

A global scientific project has finally observed the collision of neutron stars, directly, for the first time, with great significance for cracking enduring challenges in astrophysics around gravitational waves and gamma ray bursts.

Prof Soebur Razzaque from the University of Johannesburg's (UJ) contributed theoretical modelling of the expected behavior of gamma rays when neutron stars collide to the discovery.

"In 1916, Albert Einstein predicted gravitational waves or ripples in space-time, squeezing and squashing of dimensions, due to violent movement of massive objects in the universe.

"However, gravitational waves are very faint and their detection is extremely challenging.

It was only on September 14, 2015, that the first Gravitational Wave event, known among researchers as GW150914, was finally detected.

Prof Razzaque, along with the thousands of other scientists working on the challenge, expected that a neutron star merger would produce gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation, in the form of a burst of gamma rays emitted during the collision.

Jason Kowalski 2019-05-12
img

If you enjoy a bit of bling in your life, you could have a billion year old cosmic event to thank for it.

Scientists believe that the collision of two neutron stars 4.6 billion years ago could have been the source of some of Earth’s heaviest elements, including gold and platinum.

Neutron stars are incredibly dense and heavy, and when two collide the event is violent and epic.

One such collision is believed to have occurred close to our solar system, at a distance of about 1000 light-years away, about 100 million years before the Earth was formed.

“If a comparable event happened today at a similar distance from the solar system, the ensuing radiation could outshine the entire night sky,” Astrophysicist Szabolcs Márka from Columbia University said in a statement.

The collision would have sent heavy elements spiraling out into the dust cloud of our early solar system.

Jason Kowalski 2018-11-30
img

(NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab)

Gravity is big and weird and difficult to study.

But these waves are subtle and difficult to detect.

They occur in measurable amounts only after massive events, like the collision of black holes.

Humanity didn't spot its first gravitational wave until 2015.

Then, in 2017, astronomers for the first time detected both gravitational waves and light from a single event: a neutron star collision.

Robert Flowers 2017-12-20
img

August’s landmark observation of two colliding neutron stars was incredible for its immediate impact on astronomy.

It answered questions, like “where did the universe’s gold come from” and “how fast is the universe expanding?” But it left behind mysteries, too.

Like, “what the hell is going on with those gamma rays?”

Even with the first announcement, scientists wondered why the collision’s gamma rays looked weaker than expected.

But a few new papers have released further data on the collision’s radio waves and x-rays—and demonstrate that the story probably isn’t as cut-and-dried as that.

On 17 August, observatories across the world spotted GW170817, the result of two colliding stars, each a little heavier than the sun but only the size of a small city.

Ronald Black 2017-10-18
img

On August 17, 2017, over 70 observatories around (and above) the world, including ones like LIGO and the Hubble Space Telescope, all spotted a flash of energy.

This light came in many different flavors, and was consistent with a pair of dense neutron stars colliding in a cataclysmic “kilonova” explosion.

You’re probably familiar with the fact that light travels as a wave of radiation, and the colour is determined by the distance between wave peaks, or wavelength.

The distance between peaks for the colour blue is around 450 nanometres, and around 700 nanometres for the colour red.

But there are much smaller and larger wavelengths, too.

But each different wavelength of light fills in a different part of our overall understanding, like another ingredient in a recipe.

Jerrod Fenton 2018-07-17
img

A so-far unseen celestial collision could be astronomers' best bet for figuring out just how quickly the universe is expanding.

Right now, physicists have two ways of measuring that expansion rate, and both are quite precise — but their answers don't match.

That's been frustrating, since the number, known as the Hubble constant, feeds calculations like the ones scientists use to estimate how old the universe is.

And that's why they're looking for a third method to pin it down.

A pair of scientists based in Massachusetts think the trick will be catching a glimpse of the violent phenomenon of a black hole and a neutron star colliding.

[Did a Neutron-Star Collision Make a Black Hole?]

Letha Byrd 2019-08-22
img

When two neutron stars collide, the matter at their core enters extreme states.

The HADES long-term experiment, involving more than 110 scientists, has been investigating forms of cosmic matter since 1994.

With the investigation of electromagnetic radiation arising when stars collide, the team has now focused attention on the hot, dense interaction zone between two merging neutron stars.

According to estimates, none has ever happened in our galaxy, the Milky Way.

This enabled the HADES team to simulate the conditions in merging stars at the microscopic level in the heavy ion accelerator at the Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) in Darmstadt.

As in a neutron star collision, when two heavy ions are slammed together at close to the speed of light, electromagnetic radiation is produced.

Daniel Slye 2019-10-24
img

First time heavy elements spotted in neutron star collision

For the first time astroboffins have discovered strontium, a heavy element nestled near the bottom left hand side of the periodic table, being manufactured in space by the collision of two neutron stars.

The findings, reported in a paper in Nature on Wednesday, are a vital piece of the puzzle to understanding how elements heavier than iron are forged in the universe.

“This is the final stage of a decades-long chase to pin down the origin of the elements,” said Darach Watson, first author of the paper and an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

It’s well known that elements are produced in the cores of hot stars.

As atomic nuclei larger than hydrogen and helium fuse together under the heat, heavier elements are made.

William Cutright 2017-10-17
img

LIGO boffins pinpoint space prang 130m light years away

Barely two years after it came online, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has scored a double success.

Last week, the instrument earned its creators a Nobel Prize – and this week we're told it helped spot the first neutron star collision from both its gravitational wave and radiation emissions.

At 0841 ET (1241 UTC) on August 17, LIGO picked up the longest gravitational wave signal detected to date, named GW170817, and a short gamma ray burst.

After poring over these readings from the LIGO equipment, astronomers today said they were able to pinpoint where the incredible explosion occurred, and orientated their telescopes to get a good look at what happened.

Sure enough, 130 million light years away, there it was in the galaxy NGC 4993: two neutron stars, caught in a death spiral, slammed into each other, triggering what was detected by LIGO on Earth as a 100-second long gravitational wave, a two-second flash of gamma radiation, and in the days and weeks after the impact, other electromagnetic radiation — including X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared and radio waves.