Artist’s impression of merging neutron stars

This artist’s impression shows two tiny but very dense neutron stars at the point at which they merge and explode as a kilonova. Such a very rare event is expected to produce both gravitational waves and a short gamma-ray burst, both of which were observed on 17 August 2017 by LIGO–Virgo and Fermi/INTEGRAL respectively. Subsequent detailed observations with many ESO telescopes confirmed that this object, seen in the galaxy NGC 4993 about 130 million light-years from the Earth, is indeed a kilonova. Such objects are the main source of very heavy chemical elements, such as gold and platinum, in the Universe.

Credit:

ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser

About the Image

Id:eso1733a
Type:Artwork
Release date:16 October 2017, 16:00
Related releases:eso1733
Size:5000 x 3293 px

About the Object

Name:GW170817, NGC 4993
Type:Local Universe : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Neutron Star
Category:Illustrations
Stars

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