Space is a terrible place. The Hubble Space Telescope spotted a good example of this more than five years ago, when two neutron stars collided, causing an explosion so large that the resulting jet stream traveled more than 99.97 percent the speed of light.
Dubbed GW170817, the explosion was first observed in August 2017. However, NASA astronomers were only recently able to get a full picture of what is happening, publishing a paper of their findings in the Journal on Oct. 12 Nature. The study authors noted that the resulting explosion was equivalent to a supernova explosion.
In a press release, NASA announced the results as a “major turning point” in the study of these intergalactic collisions. The results were also notable because they combined forces from 70 observatories around the world, including the very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) radio telescopes, as well as those in orbit like Hubble.
“The incredible precision required by Hubble and radio telescopes to measure the blob’s trajectory was equivalent to measuring the diameter of a 12-inch diameter pizza placed on the moon from Earth,” NASA said in the press release.
Interestingly, a small optical illusion occurred as astronomers viewed the data. Measurements by Hubble indicated that the jet produced by the blast was actually seven times faster than light – which is impossible.
What was actually It happened when the jet was aimed at Earth and flying towards our planet. This created the illusion that it was traveling faster than it actually was.
“I’m amazed that Hubble can give us such a precise measurement that rivals the precision achieved by powerful VLBI radio telescopes located around the world,” said Kunal P. Mooley, an astrophysicist at Caltech and lead author the treatise publication.
The results are another great example of how the world’s diversity of telescopes and satellites can work together and work together. It’s not dissimilar to how new photos and findings from the James Webb Space Telescope are enhanced by other orbital observatories like Hubble or the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
If only we humans could learn to do the same…
https://www.thedailybeast.com/nasas-hubble-telescope-spotted-two-stars-make-an-explosion-that-was-nearly-as-fast-as-light?source=articles&via=rss NASA’s Hubble Telescope discovered two stars making an explosion that was almost as fast as light