Hubblecast 103: Hubble observes source of gravitational waves for the first time

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have observed a visible counterpart to gravitational waves for the first time: a kilonova from merging neutron stars.

For the first time, Hubble has observed the source of a gravitational wave: the merging of two neutron stars. This merger created a kilonova — an object first predicted by theory more than 30 ago. This event also provides the strongest evidence yet that short duration gamma-ray bursts are caused by mergers of neutron stars. These observations may help solve another long-standing question in astronomy: the origin of heavy chemical elements, like gold and platinum. In the merger of two neutron stars, the conditions appear just right for their production.


Directed by: Mathias Jäger
Visual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser
Written by: Izumi Hansen, Rosa Jesse, Richard Hook and Mathias Jäger
Narration: Sara Mendes da Costa
Footage: NASA, ESA/Hubble, ESO,LIGO-Virgo, N.R. Tanvir, A.J. Levan and the VIN-ROUGE collaboration, E. Pian et al./S. Smartt & ePESSTO, L. Calçada, M. Kornmesser, N. Risinger (, Digitized Sky Survey 2, Stéphane Guisard (, Liam Young/Unknown Fields, Y.Beletsky (LCO), J. Colosimo, Alexandre Santerne (Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, Universidade do Porto) / Planetário do Porto - Centro Ciência Viva, P. Aniol, Gianluca Lombardi (, B. Tafreshi ( and C. Malin (
Music: STAN DART ( B. Monell (
Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi Shida
Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen

About the Video

Release date:16 October 2017, 16:00
Related releases:heic1717
Related announcements:ann1713
Duration:04 m 19 s
Frame rate:30 fps

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