Neutron Stars Observed Colliding for the First Time

(CNN/NASA) — For the first time ever, scientists have observed the spectacular collision of two neutron stars.

This is a NASA animation of what happened.

Neutron stars are amazingly dense and very small. They have masses bigger than our sun, compressed into a body with a diameter roughly the size of a city like Chicago.

In an event captured by Earth-based telescopes in August, two neutron stars entered a death spiral and collided. The collision released more energy than what has been released during our sun’s entire lifetime.

It also emitted electromagnetic waves and space-time ripples, which scattered heavy elements like gold and platinum across the universe.


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