First-seen Neutron Star Collision Creates Light, Gravitational Waves And Gold - Other

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Scientists who won a Nobel Prize for their discovery of gravitational waves announced the first detection of the collision of two neutron stars, On October 16th, 2017.

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First-seen Neutron Star Collision Creates Light, Gravitational Waves And Gold

Our Admin
2017-10-17
23

Scientists who won a Nobel Prize for their discovery of gravitational waves announced the first detection of the collision of two neutron stars, On October 16th, 2017.


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Astronomers detected the merger from 130 million light-years away, in the galaxy NGC 4993, on the morning of August 17.

 

The team alerted astronomers all over the world to the event right after it happened, helping them point telescopes directly at the scene of the crash.

 

The collision created the first observed instance of a single source emitting ripples in space-time, known as gravitational waves, as well as light, which was released in the form of a two-second gamma ray burst.

 

It is being hailed as the first known instance of multi-messenger astrophysics: one source in the universe emitting two kinds of waves, gravitational and electromagnetic.

 

These images revealed a radioactive soup giving birth to unfathomable amounts of platinum, gold, and silver — not to mention elements like the iodine found in our bodies, the uranium in nuclear weapons, and the bismuth in Pepto-Bismol — while shooting those materials deep into space.


1. For the first time, telescopes and gravitational wave observatories together witnessed the same astronomical event.

 

2. This is the first time gravitational waves from the merger of binary neutron stars have been observed.

 

3. This observation is the first to definitively identify binary neutron star collisions as a source of short

gamma-ray bursts. Theorized for many years, this is the first direct link between those phenomena.

 

4. This discovery is the first verification of a "kilonova" explosion, confirming binary neutron star collisions as one source for the universe's heaviest elements, such as gold and uranium.

 

5. This is the first binary neutron star pair confirmed outside of our own Milky Way galaxy, and this is the closest to Earth that astronomers have seen a gamma ray burst.

 

6. The gravitational wave signals from GW170817 have enabled scientists to measure the expansion rate of the universe in a completely new way.

 

7. The partnership between LIGO and Italy-based Virgo allowed telescopes to rapidly turn their attention towards the area of sky where the neutron stars collided.

 

8. This event presents the strongest evidence to date for the detection of a gamma-ray burst off-axis, which means the cone emission from the explosion is not pointed directly at Earth.

 

9. The gravitational waves and light waves arrived within seconds of each other, suggesting they may travel at the same speed and confirming a prediction of Albert Einstein. The difference in detection time is likely a reflection of what happens during the explosion process.

 

10. Only gravitational wave observatories can directly detect unexploded binary neutron stars outside of our local galactic neighborhood, or directly observe the stars pre-collison, albeit only briefly before impact.


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2017.10.17
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