Multiwavelength Astronomy Multimedia


Crashing Neutron stars can make gamma-ray burst jets


Short gamma-ray bursts are difficult to study because they are so short. Less than 2 seconds is not a lot of time to find the burst and capture some data. These images show the merger of two neutron stars recently simulated using a new supercomputer model. Redder colors indicate lower densities. Green and white ribbons and lines represent magnetic fields. The orbiting neutron stars rapidly lose energy by emitting gravitational waves and merge after about three orbits, or in less than 8 milliseconds. The merger amplifies and scrambles the merged magnetic field. A black hole forms and the magnetic field becomes more organized, eventually producing structures capable of supporting the jets that power short gamma-ray bursts.


  • Neutron Star
  • Gamma Ray Burst
  • Compact Object


NASA/AEI/ZIB/M. Koppitz and L. Rezzolla



Associated Lesson

Gamma Ray Science

This material is based upon work supported by NASA under Grant Nos. NNX09AD33G and NNX10AE80G issued through the SMD ROSES 2009 Program.

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