Stellar merger model for gamma-ray burst
This sequence illustrates a model for the formation of a short-duration gamma-ray burst:
- A pair of neutron stars in a binary system spiral together. Orbital momentum is dissipated through the release of gravity waves, which are tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time.
- In the final milliseconds, as the two objects merge, they kick out highly radioactive material. This material heats up and expands, emitting a burst of light called a kilonova. An accompanying gamma-ray burst lasts just one-tenth of a second, but is 100 billion times brighter than the kilonova flash.
- The fading fireball blocks visible light but radiates in infrared light.
- A remnant disc of debris surrounds the merged object, which may have collapsed to form a black hole.
NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)
About the Image
NASA press release
|Release date:||5 August 2013, 12:32|
|Size:||1200 x 1200 px|