Universe  ID: 10740

When Neutron Stars Collide

Armed with state-of-the-art supercomputer models, scientists have shown that colliding neutron stars can produce the energetic jet required for a gamma-ray burst. Earlier simulations demonstrated that mergers could make black holes. Others had shown that the high-speed particle jets needed to make a gamma-ray burst would continue if placed in the swirling wreckage of a recent merger.

Now, the simulations reveal the middle step of the process—how the merging stars' magnetic field organizes itself into outwardly directed components capable of forming a jet. The Damiana supercomputer at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics needed six weeks to reveal the details of a process that unfolds in just 35 thousandths of a second—less than the blink of an eye.

For the researchers' website, with more video and stills of their simulations, go here.

 

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Credits

Francis Reddy (University of Maryland College Park): Lead Science Writer
Scott Wiessinger (UMBC): Producer
Francis Reddy (University of Maryland College Park): Graphics
Dana Berry (Skyworks Digital): Animator
Walt Feimer (HTSI): Animator
Chris Smith (HTSI): Animator
Cruz deWilde (Avant Gravity): Animator
Chris Meaney (HTSI): Animator
Scott Wiessinger (UMBC): Video Editor
Erin McKinley (OSU): Narrator
Bruno Giacomazzo (University of Maryland): Scientist
Luciano Rezzolla (AEI): Scientist
Scott Wiessinger (UMBC): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. However, each image should be credited as indicated above.

Science Paper:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1101.4298

Short URL to share this page:
https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/10740

Mission:
Swift

This item is part of these series:
Astrophysics Features
Astrophysics Stills
Astrophysics Simulations
Narrated Movies

Goddard TV Tape:
G2011-035 -- When Neutron Stars Collide

Keywords:
NASA Science >> Universe
SVS >> Collision
SVS >> Supercomputer
DLESE >> Narrated
SVS >> Swift
SVS >> Space
SVS >> Edited Feature
SVS >> Astrophysics
SVS >> Gamma Ray Burst
SVS >> Black Hole
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Spectral/Engineering >> Gamma Ray
SVS >> Simulation
SVS >> Neutron Star
SVS >> Magnetic Fields
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Density

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0