Neutron star merger animation ending with kilonova explosion

This artist’s impression video shows how two tiny but very dense neutron stars merge and explode as a kilonova. Such a very rare event is expected to produce both gravitational waves and a short gamma-ray burst, both of which were observed on 17 August 2017 by LIGO–Virgo and Fermi/INTEGRAL respectively. Subsequent detailed observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and other telescopes all over the world have confirmed that this object, seen in the galaxy NGC 4993 about 130 million light-years from the Earth, is indeed a kilonova. These objects are the main source of very heavy chemical elements, such as gold and platinum, in the Universe.


ESO/L. Calçada. Music: Johan B. Monell (

About the Video

Release date:16 October 2017, 16:00
Related releases:heic1717
Duration:48 s
Frame rate:30 fps

About the Object

Type:Local Universe : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Neutron Star

Ultra HD (info)



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12.5 MB

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