A Kilonova Simulated in 3D

An artists impression of a kilonova, the moment where two neutron stars merge. Credit: Dana Berry, Skyworks Digital, Inc.

In 2017, astronomers detected gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars for the first time: a kilonova. Enormous amounts of heavy metals were detected in the light from the explosion, and astronomers continued to watch the expanding debris cloud.

Researchers have continued to study this event. Now, using a three-dimensional computer simulation, they have created a new recreation of this merger — second by second, as it happened — giving insights into all the high-energy mayhem and heavy elements formation in this catastrophic event.

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