Astronomers catch a super-energy collision of dead stars

A distant merger of neutron stars unleashed one of the most powerful short-term gamma-ray bursts (GRB) ever, according to new observations from ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile.

Neutron stars are the super-dense stellar nuclei that remain after massive stars explode, and when, say, two neutron stars collide, the result is a dramatic explosion, the light of which is referred to as a kilonova. The mergers are also letting go gravitational waves and a brief blast of gamma rays in two tight jets shooting into space in opposite directions.

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