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Rare time-lapse video of a star collision


The ALMA observatory in Chile captured the unprecedented sight of a stellar collision billions of light-years away.

According to a new study published on the website arXiv On August 1, astronomers from Northwestern University in the US and Radboud University in the Netherlands observed for the first time the millimeter wavelength from the collision of at least one neutron star with another.

This violent merger event – known as GRB 211106A – produced one of the most powerful short gamma-ray bursts ever recorded. The light traveled between 6 and 9 billion light-years through the universe before being detected by the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submmillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope in Chile.

Rare timelapse video of a star collision

ALMA observed a bright halo from the stellar collision GRB 211106A. Video: ESO/NAOJ/NRAO

The time-lapse video shows the halo caused by the collision appearing prominently in the middle of the frame and fading after 63 days.

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) – including long GRBs and short GRBs – are the most intense type of explosion in the universe. In just 10 seconds, they can release more energy than a star like the Sun in 10 billion years.

According to NASA, long GRBs are usually caused by supernova events, when the core of a massive star collapses into a black hole, and last from a few seconds to several minutes. Meanwhile, short GRBs are the result of neutron star collisions and last only from a few milliseconds to less than 2 seconds. However, when the material ejected from the explosion collided with the surrounding gas and dust, it created a bright halo that could be observed for months.

Simulation of a neutron star collision. Photo: robin dienel

Simulation of a neutron star collision. Image: Robin Dienel

“Short gamma-ray bursts often occur in distant galaxies, meaning their light is quite faint when reaching telescopes on Earth. Before ALMA, millimeter telescopes were not sensitive enough to detect them. reveal these remnants,” emphasized astrophysicist Tanmoy Laskar from Radboud University.

The new observation of GRB 211106A will help scientists understand more about GRB events and their impact on the surrounding environment.

Doan Duong (Follow Live Science/Mail)

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