NASA scientists detected light tied to a gravitation-wave event thanks to two merging neutron stars in 2017. NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope picked up a pulse of high energy light from a powerful explosion. The gravitational waves dubbed GW170817 from a pair of smashing stars tied to the gamma-ray burst encouraging astronomers to look for the aftermath of the initial explosion.
The animation was created to better illustrate what was happing in the deep reaches of space at the moment leading up to the gamma-ray burst.
Director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division at the agency’s headquarters in Washington said: “This is extremely exciting science.
“Now, for the first time, we’ve seen light and gravitational waves produced by the same event.
“The detection of a gravitational-wave source’s light has revealed details of the event that cannot be determined from gravitational waves alone.
“The multiplier effect of study with many observatories is incredible.”
Neutron stars are then crushed, leaving cores of massive stars that previously exploded as supernovas long ago.
The merging stars likely had masses between 10 and 60 percent greater than that of our Sun, but they were no wider than Washington, D.C.
The pair whirled around each other hundreds of times a second, producing gravitational waves at the same frequency.
NASA’S Hubble Space Telescope began imaging the kiln ova and capturing its near-infrared spectrum, which revealed the motion and chemical compassion of the expanding debris.
Andrew Levan at the University of Warwick said: “The spectrum looked exactly like how theoretical physicist had predicted the outcome of the merger of two neutron stars would appear.
“It tied this object to the gravitational wave source beyond all reasonable doubt.”