NuStar -- 002

NuStar -- 002

Neutron star merger

When neutron stars collide, the explosion blasts some of the debris away in particle jets moving at nearly the speed of light, as shown in this illustration. The jets produce a brief burst of gamma rays (magenta). For GW170817, the gamma rays reached Earth just 1.7 seconds after the merger's last gravitational wave (pale arc).

IMAGE: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab