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News Release Archive:

News Release 59 of 954

August 3, 2013 12:45 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2013-29

Hubble Finds 'Smoking Gun' After Gamma-Ray Blast

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Image: Stellar Merger Model for Gamma-ray Burst

Stellar Merger Model for Gamma-ray Burst

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

Panel 1: A pair of neutron stars in a binary system spiral together. Orbital momentum is dissipated through the release of gravity waves, which are tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time.

Panel 2: In the final milliseconds, the two objects merge and produce a gamma-ray burst lasting just one-tenth of a second.

Panel 3: A small fraction of the mass of the merging neutron stars is flung out during the merger. This hot, highly radioactive material expands and its outer layer thins enough for infrared light to escape. At its peak brightness (within a week and a half of the merger) the explosion is about a thousand times brighter than a classical nova and so is called a "kilonova."

Panel 4: A massive neutron star or black hole remains after the event with a remnant debris disk in orbit around it.

Image Type: Illustration

Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

NEWS RELEASE IMAGES

The above montage includes these images:

Stellar Merger Model for GRB — Panel 1 Image Type: Illustration Stellar Merger Model for GRB — Panel 1 Stellar Merger Model for GRB — Panel 2 Image Type: Illustration Stellar Merger Model for GRB — Panel 2 Stellar Merger Model for GRB — Panel 3 Image Type: Illustration Stellar Merger Model for GRB — Panel 3 Stellar Merger Model for GRB — Panel 4 Image Type: Illustration Stellar Merger Model for GRB — Panel 4

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