The collision of two neutron stars, several billion light years from us, produced one of the most powerful gamma flashes recorded by the ALMA radio telescope in the Chilean desert of Atacama, now 20 billion light years from the galaxy in which these stars are located.
The neutron stars are supersealed nuclei that remain after the explosion of massive stars, and when they hit, there's a powerful explosion called a kilolon. The name suggests that the energy produced can be a thousand times greater than the energy produced by supernova. Gravity waves are produced and in two opposite directions, gamma ray beams are released.
The event was recorded on November 6, 2021 by the European Space Agency ' s INTEGRAL Orbital X-ray and Gamma Observatory, which sent a signal activated by NASA Swift. The explosion entered into the catalogue under GRB No. 211106A lasted less than two seconds and lasted much longer after the luminance of the kilogon.
After-lighting can be studied. The gamma waves accelerate the electrons contained in the gas at the impact site, and the radiation energy of these electrons reaches a peak in a millimetre range, which can be seen as the total explosion energy. From the data collected by ALMA, it has been determined that GRB 211106A released an energy range of 2×1050 to 6×1050 eg, making it one of the most powerful observations ever made.
The impact of the stars ranged from 6.3 billion to 9.1 billion years ago, and now, with the expansion of the universe, the "native" galaxy of these stars is 20 billion light-years away. Gravity waves from the source at this distance have not been detected far enough. However, scientists have studied in detail the gamma-lighting: it starts with a narrow beam and then gradually expands. In this case, the angle of the beam is 16°, and this is one of the largest indicators for a short gamma-ray. The researchers are lucky because it is only possible to capture the beam when it is directed at us, which means that the larger it is, the more likely we are to see it.
Such events are important for space chemistry: in such collisions, stars form heavy elements, including silver, gold and platinum, and scientists have estimated that the mass of gold produced can range from 3 to 13 Earth's masses.
The report of the event will be published in the scientific journal Astrophic Journal Letters.