Astronomers catch super-energetic collision of dead stars

A distant neutron star merger has triggered one of the most powerful short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) ever seen, according to new observations from ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile.

Neutron stars are the super-dense stellar cores left behind after massive stars explode, and when, say, two neutron stars collide, the result is a dramatic explosion, the light of which is called a kilonova. Mergers also release gravitational waves and a brief burst of gamma rays in two narrow jets shooting in opposite directions in space.

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