Kilonova – Neutron Star Merger

Kilonova - Neutron Star Merger
Kilonova – Neutron Star Merger

Imagine the biggest collisions you have ever witnessed. They must be terrifying. But, now imagine a similar collision happening at the cosmic scale. Imagine the collision of one of the densest objects in the universe – Neutron stars. These are the most fascinating and at the same time the most destructive collisions in our universe…

The Kilonova

A Kilonova explosion occurs in a binary star system in which either both stars are Neutron stars or if one is a Neutron Star and the other one is a Black hole. The two stars pull each other causing their orbit to degrade over time. As they keep on coming closer to each other, they revolve faster and faster, and then, Boom, we have a Kilonova. The clash between these heavyweights creates extremely strong gravitational waves and short gamma-ray bursts. The first Kiloniva to be detected and observed was the SGRB 130603B. This Kiloniva was detected by an instrument on the Swift Gamma-ray explorer and then observed by the Hubble Space Telescope.

These explosions produce all the elements heavier than iron.  It creates one of the most loved metals on our planet as well – Gold. Yes, the gold in the jewelry you are wearing was fused billions of years ago in the clash between two Neutron stars. Other elements that the Kilonova produces is Uranium and Plutonium which is used as nuclear fuel to electrify cities.

The atoms in everything that you see around you (and you as well) was created by the death or collision of stars that occurred billions of years ago. Now, this fact really makes us in a way, one with the universe…

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