We should consider ourselves so lucky for having the privilege of living in a very peaceful cosmic neighborhood. Jupiter is also the guardian of our solar system, as it acts like a vacuum cleaner for ‘unwanted visitors’. The huge gravity of Jupiter is attracting most of the asteroids and comets that come too close, thus protecting the Earth.
But this time we’re talking about a much imposing phenomenon than an asteroid or a comet: a collision between neutron stars. Even the Chicxulub impactor that killed the dinosaurs a very long time ago pales by comparison with a neutron star collision, as the latter event is even capable of shaking the fabric of spacetime itself.
X-rays still present on the GW170817 neutron star collision
Thanks to a new study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the neutron star collision known as GW170817 is discovered, and it’s located at an unfathomable distance from Earth: 130 million years away.
Many telescopes from Earth had captured different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. A burst of highly energetic gamma rays was detected by astronomers, and they also found bursts of light and UV, radio and infrared signals. NASA’s Chandra observatory was lucky enough to pick up the X-ray signal belonging to the neutron star collision. The big surprise is that the X-rays are still active even 1,000 days after the initial discovery of the neutron stars.
Eleonora Troja, who is the lead author of the study and also an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, declares:
“We really don’t know what to expect from this point forward, because all our models were predicting no X-rays,”
Thankfully, 130 million light-years is a far enough distance for us to be sure that the effects of the neutron star collision will never be able to affect us.