Hubble observes source of gravitational waves for the first time

ESA/Hubble Information Centre

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has observed for the first time the source of a gravitational wave, created by the merger of two neutron stars. This merger created a kilonova – an object predicted by theory decades ago – that ejects heavy elements such as gold and platinum into space. About two seconds after the detection of the gravitational wave, ESA’s INTEGRAL telescope and NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope observed a short gamma-ray burst in the same direction. Once I saw that there had been a trigger from LIGO and Virgo at the same time as a gamma-ray burst I was blown away, recalls Andrew Levan of the University of Warwick, who led the Hubble team that obtained the first observations. [3] A neutron star forms when the core of a massive star (above eight times the mass of the Sun) collapses.

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