Time-lapse captures the fiery explosion caused by the collision of two stars

Fascinating time-lapse images have captured a never-before-seen view of the fiery aftermath of a collision between two stars.

For the first time, scientists have recorded millimeter-wavelength light from the merger of at least one neutron star with another star, which left behind one of the brightest afterglows ever. recorded.

The light traveled about 6 to 9 billion light-years through the Universe and was captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory in Chile.

Led by Northwestern University and Radboud University in the Netherlandsthe team also confirmed that this flash was one of the most energetic short-lived gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) ever observed.

The data could help scientists learn more about these extreme events and their effects on the space around them.

Stellar Event: Fascinating time-lapse images have captured a never-before-seen view of the fiery aftermath caused by the collision of two stars

For the first time, scientists have recorded millimeter-wavelength light from the merger of at least one neutron star with another star, which left one of the brightest afterglows on record.

For the first time, scientists have recorded millimeter-wavelength light from the merger of at least one neutron star with another star, which left one of the brightest afterglows on record.

The light traveled about 6 to 9 billion light-years through the Universe and was captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory in Chile.  Pictured is an artist's impression of the merger between a neutron star and another star

The light traveled about 6 to 9 billion light-years through the Universe and was captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory in Chile. Pictured is an artist’s impression of the merger between a neutron star and another star

Gamma-ray bursts are the most violent explosions in the universe

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), energetic jets of gamma rays from black holes, can be created in two different ways, resulting in long or short GRBs.

They are created from some of the most violent deaths in the universe.

Long GRBs last about a minute, and scientists believe they are produced by supernovae: when the core of a massive star collapses to become a black hole.

Short GRBs last one second and are produced when two neutron stars merge.

“This short gamma-ray burst was the first time we’ve attempted to observe such an event with ALMA,” said ALMA program principal investigator Wen-fai Fong of Northwestern.

“Afterglows for short bursts are very hard to come by, so it was spectacular to see this event shine so brightly. ‘

Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful known explosions in the Universe.

In just 10 seconds, they can emit more energy than a star the size of our sun emits in 10 billion years.

Long GRBs last about a minute, and scientists believe they are produced by supernovae: when the core of a massive star collapses to become a black hole.

Short GRBs last one second and are usually produced when two neutron stars merge.

They are also important because it is in explosions like these that elements heavier than iron are forged and ejected into space.

“These explosions occur in distant galaxies, which means the light they emit may be quite faint for our telescopes on Earth,” said astrophysicist Tanmoy Laskar, from Radboud University in the Netherlands.

“Before ALMA, millimeter telescopes were not sensitive enough to detect these afterglows.”

Located in the high altitude Atacama Desert in Chile, the ALMA array comprises 66 radio telescopes, making it the largest radio telescope in the world.

Laskar added: “ALMA’s unparalleled sensitivity allowed us to more accurately pinpoint the location of the GRB in this field, and it turned out to be in another faint galaxy, which is further away. .

“That, in turn, means that this short-lived gamma-ray burst is even more powerful than we first thought, making it one of the brightest and most energetic on record.”

Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions known in the Universe.

Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions known in the Universe.

In just 10 seconds, they can emit more energy than a star the size of our sun emits in 10 billion years

In just 10 seconds, they can emit more energy than a star the size of our sun emits in 10 billion years

GRBs are also important because it is in explosions like these that elements heavier than iron are forged and ejected into space.

GRBs are also important because it is in explosions like these that elements heavier than iron are forged and ejected into space.

Located in the high altitude Atacama Desert in Chile, the ALMA array comprises 66 radio telescopes, making it the largest radio telescope in the world

Located in the high altitude Atacama Desert in Chile, the ALMA array comprises 66 radio telescopes, making it the largest radio telescope in the world

Fong said: “After many years of observing these bursts, this startling discovery opens up a new area of ​​study, as it motivates us to observe many more with ALMA and other telescope arrays in the future. ”

Last year, a massive gamma-ray burst more than a billion light-years from Earth was turned out to be the largest explosion ever detected in the Universe and recorded by astronomers.

The explosive event was the death of a star and the start of its transformation into a black hole, according to experts at the German electron synchrotron in Hamburg.

It was a massive gamma-ray burst, consisting of a combination of bright X-rays and gamma-ray flashes seen in the sky, emitted from distant extragalactic sources.

It was detected by the Fermi and Swift space telescopes, with support from the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) ground telescope in Namibia.

The new research has been accepted into The Astrophysical Journal Letters and is available at archives.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT GAMMA RADIATION?

Gamma rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation (EMR), similar to X-rays, emitted by the excited nucleus of an atom.

All EMRs take the form of a stream of photons, massless particles each traveling in a wave pattern and moving at the speed of light.

Each photon contains a certain amount – a bunch or a beam – of energy, and all REM is made up of these photons.

Gamma photons have the highest energy in the EMR spectrum and their waves have the shortest wavelength.

Scientists measure the energy of photons in electronvolts (ev). X photons have energies between 100 ev and 100,000 ev (or 100 kev). Gamma photons generally have energies above 100 kev.

For comparison, the ultraviolet radiation that tans or burns your skin has an energy between a few electron volts and about 100 eV.

The high energy of gamma rays means they can pass through many types of materials, including human tissue.

Very dense materials, such as lead, are commonly used as shielding to slow down or stop gamma rays.

Gamma radiation is emitted by many radioisotopes found in the natural radiation decay series of uranium, thorium and actinium.

It is also emitted by the natural radioisotopes potassium-40 and carbon-14.

These are found in all rocks and soil and even in our food and water.

Artificial sources of gamma radiation are produced during fission in nuclear reactors, high energy physics experiments, nuclear explosions and accidents.

Huge bursts of gamma rays have been detected in the universe and are thought to come from black holes that form when stars explode or when two neutron stars collide.