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Hubble sees the fireball from a kilonova

August 7, 2013 Comments off

earthsky.org

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has detected a new kind of stellar blast called a kilonova that’s about 1,000 times brighter than a regular nova.

A kilonova happens when a pair of compact objects such as neutron stars crash together. Hubble observed the fading fireball from a kilonova last month, following a short gamma ray burst (GRB) in a galaxy almost 4 billion light-years from Earth.

These Hubble images show the fireball afterglow of Gamma-ray Burst 130603B. Image credit: NASA, ESA, N. Tanvir (University of Leicester), A. Fruchter (STScI), and A. Levan (University of Warwick)

In the image at left, the galaxy in the center produced the gamma-ray burst, designated GRB 130603B. The galaxy resides almost 4 billion light-years away. A probe of the galaxy with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 on June 13, 2013, revealed a glow in near-infrared light at the source of the gamma-ray burst, shown in the Read more…

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