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Monstrous Kilonova explosions can turn a nearby galaxy into gold

Mergers of this magnitude are so violent that they disrupt the fabric of space-time and cause gravitational waves that spread like waves on a pond in the cosmos. These mergers are also fueling catastrophic explosions that produce heavy metals in a hurry and overshadow their galactic neighborhoods with gold and platinum worth hundreds of planets, the authors of the new study said in a statement . (Some scientists suggest that all gold and platinum on Earth was created by ancient neutron star fusions near our galaxy in explosions like this.)

Astronomers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) have concrete evidence For getting such mergers when they pulse out for the first time in 201

7 Gravitational Waves from a stellar impact site, incomplete image of what Kilonovas look like.

For their new study, an international team of scientists compared the partial dataset from the 2017 merger to more complete observations of a suspected Kilonova, which took place in 2016 and was observed by several space telescopes. Looking at the explosion of 2016 in all available wavelengths of light (including X-rays, radio, and optics), the team found that this mysterious explosion was almost identical to the known 2017 fusion.

"It was a close to perfect match," said senior study author Eleonora Troja, an Associate Scientist at the University of Maryland (UMD) in the statement. "The infrared data for both events have similar luminous intensities and exactly the same time scale."

In 2016, a golden explosion occurred in a nearby galaxy. Astronomers have now identified it as Kilonova – an explosion resulting from the collision of two dead stars.

[Photo credit: Courtesy University of Maryland]

So confirmed: The 2016 blast was indeed a massive galactic fusion, probably between two neutron stars, just like the 2017 LIGO discovery. As astronomers began observing the 2016 blast immediately after it began, the authors of the new study were able to catch a glimpse of the stellar debris left behind by the blast, which was not visible in the 2017 LIGO data.

The remainder could be a highly magnetized, hypermassive neutron star known as magnetar. He survived the collision and then collapsed into a black hole, "said study co-author Geoffrey Ryan, postdoctoral fellow at UMD," which is interesting because the theory is that a magnetar should slow down or even stop heavy metal production, "they said However, observations from 2016 clearly show that large amounts of heavy metals were present.

That's all it takes to understand the collisions between the most massive objects in the universe – and the mysterious rains that result – scientists still have more questions than answers.

Originally published on Live Science .

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