This animation captures phenomena observed over the course of nine days following the neutron star merger known as GW170817, detected on Aug. 17, 2017. They include gravitational waves (pale arcs), a near-light-speed jet that produced gamma rays (magenta), expanding debris from a kilonova that produced ultraviolet (violet), optical and infrared (blue-white to red) emission, and, once the jet directed toward us expanded into our view from Earth, X-rays (blue).
On Sept. 22, 2017, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole, represented in this illustration by strings of sensors under the ice, detected a high-energy neutrino that appeared to come from deep space. NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (top left) pinpointed the source as a supermassive black hole in a galaxy located about 4 billion light-years away. It is the first source of a high-energy neutrino from outside our galaxy ever identified.
Credit: NASA/Fermi and Aurore Simonnet, Sonoma State University
Animation that includes a view of how Fermi’s Large Area Telescope detects gamma rays by converting them into electron-positron pairs. This is an upres of the original animation frames to UHD resolution (3840 x 2160).
GRB 101225A, better known as the "Christmas burst," was an unusually long-lasting gamma-ray burst. Because its distance was not measured, astronomers came up with two radically different interpretations. In the first, a solitary neutron star in our own galaxy shredded and accreted an approaching comet-like body. In the second, a neutron star was engulfed by, spiraled into and merged with an evolved giant star in a distant galaxy. Now, thanks to a measurement of the Christmas burst's host galaxy, astronomers have determined that it represented the collapse and explosion of a supergiant star hundreds of times larger than the Sun.
NASA's Gamma-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (GRIS) is readied for its fifth balloon flight at Alice Springs, Australia, in 1992. The experiment made nine trips into the stratosphere for a total flight time of 223 hours.
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Steve Snodgrass
NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory drifts away from the space shuttle Atlantis on April 7, 1991, following its deployment during the STS-37 mission. Compton's successful career ended in June 2000 when the observatory reentered Earth's atmosphere.
The Italian-Dutch satellite BeppoSAX played a crucial role in resolving the origins of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), brief, powerful explosions initially discovered in 1967 by the U.S. Vela satellites. On Feb. 28, 1997, moments after a GRB was detected, BeppoSAX turned its X-ray telescopes to the location and spotted an X-ray afterglow -- the first GRB observation in a wavelength other than gamma rays. The satellite's accurate positions, together with other observations, showed that GRBs originate beyond our Milky Way galaxy.
Credit: BeppoSAX Science Data Center and Agenzia Spaziale Italiana
Shown here is a computer simulation of the merger of two black holes and the resulting emission of gravitational radiation. Colored fields represent a component of the curvature of space-time. The outer red sheets correspond directly to the outgoing gravitational radiation detected by gravitational-wave observatories. The brighter yellow areas near the black holes do not correspond to physical structures but generally indicate where strong non-linear gravitational-field interactions are in play.