Neutron star collision showers the universe with a wealth of discoveries

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Two ultradense cores of dead stars have produced a long-awaited cosmic collision, showering scientists with riches.

The event was the first direct sighting of a smashup of neutron stars, which are formed when aging stars explode and leave behind a neutron-rich remnant. In the wake of the collision, the churning residue forged gold, silver, platinum and a smattering of other heavy elements such as uranium, researchers reported October 16 at a news conference in Washington, D.C. Such elements’ birthplaces were previously unknown, but their origins were revealed by the cataclysm’s afterglow.

“It really is the last missing piece” of the periodic table, says Anna Frebel, an astronomer at MIT who was not involved in the research. “This is heaven for anyone working in the field.” After the collision, about 10 times the Earth’s mass in gold was spewed out into space, some scientists calculated.

Read Article:  https://www.sciencenews.org/article/neutron-star-collision-gravitational-waves

 

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Measured distance within the Milky Way gives clues to what our galaxy looks like

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For the first time, astronomers have directly measured the distance to a spot clear across the galaxy. The established but challenging technique promises a new way to map the structure of the Milky Way.

This technique, called parallax, has measured distances to stars since the 1830s. But because of galactic dust in the way, it has been difficult to use parallax on stars on the opposite side of the galaxy. Other ways to measure distance are saddled with assumptions and uncertainties.

Read Article:  https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/distance-milky-way-galaxy-parallax?tgt=nr