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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