Released on January 21, 1999
Systems of orbiting neutron stars are born when the cores of two old stars collapse in supernova explosions. Neutron stars have the mass of our Sun but are the size of a city, so dense that boundaries between atoms disappear. Einstein's theory of general relativity predicts that the orbit shrinks from ripples of space-time called gravitational waves. After about 1 billion simulation years, the two neutron stars closely circle each other at 60,000 revolutions per minute. The stars finally merge in a few milliseconds, sending out a burst of gravitational waves.
A simulated collsion between two neutron stars, shown as translucent spheres. The flat circles are cross-sections through the equators, showing matter density increasing as colors move from yellow to blue to red.
Video slate image reads, "Binary Neutron Star Collision In this simulation, the translucent spheres are the neutron stars. The flat circles are a cross-section through the equators. Colors map matter density, which increases as colors move from yello to blue to red."
Dave Bock (NASA): Lead Animator John Shalf (NASA): Animator Doug Swesty (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): Scientist Alan Calder (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): Scientist Ed Wang (State University of New York at Stony Brook): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to: National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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