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Merging Neutron Stars Made An Unstoppable Jet, And It Moves At Nearly The Speed Of Light

28 Feb 2019, 15:01 UTC
Merging Neutron Stars Made An Unstoppable Jet, And It Moves At Nearly The Speed Of Light
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In 2017, two neutron stars merged together in a galaxy 130 million light-years away. We’ve now observed an ultra-fast jet moving at nearly the speed of light, which means it must have broken through the shell of expelled matter unhindered. (BEABUDAI DESIGN)In 2017, we saw gravitational waves a neutron star merger for the first and only time. And it keeps getting more interesting.On August 17, 2017, a cosmic signal arrived at Earth that would forever change how we viewed the Universe. Over 100 million years prior, two neutron stars bound together in the distant galaxy NGC 4993 finished inspiraling and merged together, creating a stupendous cosmic explosion when they did. The event is now known as a kilonova, and is thought to be responsible for the creation of the heaviest elements present throughout the Universe.The inspiral and merger created two signals that we were able to detect practically simultaneously: gravitational waves, detectable with LIGO and Virgo, and electromagnetic radiation, or light, across the full suite of wavelengths we’re able to observe. But there’s something else emitted too: matter. Today, in a new paper published in Science, scientists determined that an enormous jet was produced, and it’s still moving at nearly ...

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