Stellar merger model for gamma-ray burst

This sequence illustrates a model for the formation of a short-duration gamma-ray burst:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The fading fireball blocks visible light but radiates in infrared light.
  4. 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

About the Object

Name:GRB 130603B
Type:Early Universe : Cosmology : Phenomenon : Gamma Ray Burst

Image Formats

r.titleLarge JPEG
555.2 KB
r.titleScreensize JPEG
349.0 KB


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