Neutron Star Merge
- Visualizations by:
- Dana Berry
- View full credits
Binary systems containing neutron stars are born when the cores of two orbiting stars collapse in supernova explosions. Neutron stars pack the mass of our sun into the size of a city. They are so dense and packed so tightly that the boundaries atoms nuclei disappear. In such systems, Einstein's theory of general relativity predicts that neutron stars emit gravitational radiation, ripples of space-time. This causes the orbits to shrink and gradually brings the neutron stars closer together. Shown here is such a system after about 1 billion years, when two equal-mass neutron whirl around each other at 60,000 times a minute. The stars merge in a few milliseconds, sending out a burst of gravitational waves and a brief, intense gamma-ray burst.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
- Dana Berry (Skyworks Digital) [Lead]
- Erica Drezek (HTSI)
MissionsThis visualization is related to the following missions:
SeriesThis visualization can be found in the following series:
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