X-Rays From Neutron Star Merger Still Persist 1,000 Days After Collision

KEY POINTS

  • In 2017, scientists detected X-rays following the collision of two neutron stars
  • It was the first time that X-rays were observed following a gamma ray burst
  • The X-rays were stil observable even 2 1/2 years after the collision
  • Scientists offer possible explanations for the X-ray emission’s strange behavior

A team of researchers can still detect lingering X-rays from a neutron star collision that happened 1,000 days prior. The prolonged X-ray emission continues to puzzle scientists.

It was on Aug. 17, 2017, when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo first detected gravitational waves from the  merger of two neutron stars. Dubbed GW 170817, the event was observed by various telescopes from all over the world within hours of the first detection.

The initial burst was followed by a short-duration gamma ray-burst (GRB) and a slower kilonova. Nine days later, scientists detected an afterglow that was visible

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Neutron star collision continues to emit X-rays, puzzling astronomers

When two neutron stars smashed into each other, about 130 million light-years from Earth, the universe lit up. The collision, between some of the densest objects in the cosmos, produced gravitational waves and a spattering of fireworks on Aug. 17, 2017. Dozens of telescopes on Earth captured the rare merger across different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. First, there came a burst of highly energetic gamma rays, followed by bursts of light and UV, radio and infrared signals.



Two neutron stars colliding, generating gravitational waves and a huge, bright jet. Caltech/LIGO


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Two neutron stars colliding, generating gravitational waves and a huge, bright jet. Caltech/LIGO



Two neutron stars colliding, generating gravitational waves and a huge, bright jet.


© Caltech/LIGO

Two neutron stars colliding, generating gravitational waves and a huge, bright jet.


About nine days after the collision, NASA’s Chandra observatory picked up an X-ray signal. According to our understanding of neutron stars, it should have faded away by now. 

But in a new study, published Monday in the journal Monthly Notices

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Astronomers find x-rays lingering years after landmark neutron star collision

UMD astronomers find x-rays lingering years after landmark neutron star collision
Researchers have continuously monitored the radiation emanating from the first (and so far only) cosmic event detected in both gravitational waves and the entire spectrum of light. The neutron star collision detected on August 17, 2017, is seen in this image emanating from galaxy NGC 4993. New analysis provides possible explanations for X-rays that continued to radiate from the collision long after other radiation had faded and way past model predictions. Credit: E. Troja

It’s been three years since the landmark detection of a neutron star merger from gravitational waves. And since that day, an international team of researchers led by University of Maryland astronomer Eleonora Troja has been continuously monitoring the subsequent radiation emissions to provide the most complete picture of such an event.


Their analysis provides possible explanations for X-rays that continued to radiate from the collision long after models predicted they would stop. The study also reveals

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Planet collision simulations give clues to atmospheric loss from Moon’s origin — ScienceDaily

Earth could have lost anywhere between ten and 60 per cent of its atmosphere in the collision that is thought to have formed the Moon.

New research led by Durham University, UK, shows how the extent of atmospheric loss depends upon the type of giant impact with the Earth.

Researchers ran more than 300 supercomputer simulations to study the consequences that different huge collisions have on rocky planets with thin atmospheres.

Their findings have led to the development of a new way to predict the atmospheric loss from any collision across a wide range of rocky planet impacts that could be used by scientists who are investigating the Moon’s origins or other giant impacts.

They also found that slow giant impacts between young planets and massive objects could add significant atmosphere to a planet if the impactor also has a lot of atmosphere.

The findings are published in the Astrophysical

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Seismic data explains continental collision beneath Tibet — ScienceDaily

In addition to being the last horizon for adventurers and spiritual seekers, the Himalaya region is a prime location for understanding geological processes. It hosts world-class mineral deposits of copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver, as well as rarer elements like lithium, antimony and chrome, that are essential to modern technology. The uplift of the Tibetan plateau even affects global climate by influencing atmospheric circulation and the development of seasonal monsoons.

Yet despite its importance, scientists still don’t fully understand the geological processes contributing to the region’s formation. “The physical and political inaccessibility of Tibet has limited scientific study, so most field experiments have either been too localized to understand the big picture or they’ve lacked sufficient resolution at depths to properly understand the processes,” said Simon Klemperer, a geophysics professor at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth).

Now, new seismic data gathered by Klemperer and

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