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James Webb photographed a violent collision of neutron stars

James Webb photographed a violent collision of neutron stars

The telescope detected a bright gamma-ray burst that gave birth to a kilonova, a dramatic event believed to form heavy elements such as gold.

Thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), astronomers have detected an extremely bright gamma-ray burst (GRB), caused by the violent collision of two neutron stars. It’s a so-called kilonova, and it’s one of the sites where the heaviest elements in the universe, including gold, are forged. The process requires extreme and violent conditions, such as those around colliding neutron stars.

The amazing discovery of James Webb

It is the first time that James Webb has been used to detect emissions from an event of this type. The powerful space telescope was also able to detect traces of heavy elements that were formed during the collision. In particular, the team found traces of tellurium and lanthanides, a group of 15 metals heavier than lead.

The team identified several galaxies in the vicinity of the kilonova that could be the source of this collision. Most likely it is the brightest Of these galaxies, which are about 8.3 million light-years from Earth and “displaced” from the GRB source by about 130,000 light-years.

there kilonova It was also possible to identify him in another way. Colliding neutron stars cause the very fabric of space-time to “play” as gravitational waves. These ripples can be detected here on Earth by detectors such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, but LIGO was not active when the collision occurred.


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