Astronomers catch a super-energetic collision of dead stars

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

Neutron stars are the super-dense stellar colors left after massive stars explode, and when, say, two neutron stars collide, the result is a dramatic explosion, the light of which is referred to as a kilonova. The mergers also release gravitational waves and a brief blast of gamma-ray radiation in two tight jets shooting opposite directions into space.

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