Neutron Star Merger Gravitational Waves and Gamma Rays

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Shared October 16, 2017

The merging of two neutron stars was detected by gravitational waves and then by telescopes in all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is a historic detection as it demonstrates:
- the first gravitational waves detected from inspiraling neutron stars
- the first joint observation by gravitational wave and electromagnetic wave astronomy
- identification of a gamma ray burst in conjunction with merging neutron stars
- how gravitational waves and gamma rays can be used together to locate their source

All evidence so far indicates that the data support General Relativity.

Special thanks to Patreon supporters:
Tony Fadell, Donal Botkin, Curational, Jeff Straathof, Zach Mueller, Ron Neal, Nathan Hansen, Corvi

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Graphics from:
Jets and Debris from a Neutron Star Collision
This animation captures phenomena observed over the course of nine days following the neutron star merger known as GW170817. They include gravitational waves (pale arcs); a near-light-speed jet that produced gamma rays (magenta); expanding debris from a "kilonova" that produced ultraviolet (violet), optical and infrared (blue-white to red) emission; and, once the jet directed toward us expanded into our view from Earth, X-rays (blue).
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

Virgo Helps Localize Gravitational-Wave Signals
Sky localizations of gravitational-wave signals detected by LIGO beginning in 2015 (GW150914, LVT151012, GW151226, GW170104), and, more recently, by the LIGO-Virgo network (GW170814, GW170817). After Virgo came online in August 2017, scientists were better able to localize the gravitational-wave signals. The background is an optical image of the Milky Way. The localizations of GW150914, LVT151012, and GW170104 wrap around the celestial sphere, so the sky map is shown with a translucent dome.
Credit: LIGO/Virgo/NASA/Leo Singer (Milky Way image: Axel Mellinger)

Variety of Gravitational Waves and a Chirp
The signal measured by LIGO and Virgo from the neutron star merger GW170817 is compared here to previously detected binary black hole mergers. All signals are shown starting at 30 Hertz, and the progression of GW170817 is shown in real time, accompanied by its conversion to audio heard at the end of the movie. GW170817 was observable for more than 30 times longer than any previous gravitational-wave signal.
Credit: LIGO/University of Oregon/Ben Farr

LIGO is funded by the NSF, and operated by Caltech and MIT, which conceived of LIGO and led the Initial and Advanced LIGO projects. Financial support for the Advanced LIGO project was led by the NSF with Germany (Max Planck Society), the U.K. (Science and Technology Facilities Council) and Australia (Australian Research Council) making significant commitments and contributions to the project.

More than 1,200 scientists and some 100 institutions from around the world participate in the effort through the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which includes the GEO Collaboration and the Australian collaboration OzGrav. Additional partners are listed at

The Virgo collaboration consists of more than 280 physicists and engineers belonging to 20 different European research groups: six from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France; eight from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy; two in the Netherlands with Nikhef; the MTA Wigner RCP in Hungary; the POLGRAW group in Poland; Spain with the University of Valencia; and the European Gravitational Observatory, EGO, the laboratory hosting the Virgo detector near Pisa in Italy, funded by CNRS, INFN, and Nikhef.

francisco chinchilla resende

Showed this video with amazing science discoveries about the universe to my mom and all she said was : "this guy likes orange decorations"

2 years ago | [YT] | 1,898


This happened 130 million years ago, this is old news, tell me something new

2 years ago | [YT] | 262

Awang Budiman

RIP to possible alien life and civilization near those collisions. :')

2 years ago | [YT] | 148

Scientist in the streets-gorilla in the sheets

If only Einstein was still alive today and could work with current data and technology

2 years ago | [YT] | 81


130 million years ago......😱😱😱

2 years ago | [YT] | 778


Meanwhile at another corner of the internet : lmao the earth is a disc

2 years ago (edited) | [YT] | 777


Pin pointed within 11 hours by optical telescopes.. mind Blown The Scientific communities in these fields are massively under underrated, under appreciated... and most definitely (still) under funded... ...just 11 hours!

2 years ago (edited) | [YT] | 52

Miles Kidson

Hi Derek. I'm a 19 year old from South Africa and I've always known that I wanted to study Physics at university, but I could never decide between particle physics and astronomy. I've been following you for a while and love all you videos. This one, however, has made the decision for me. I am going to study astronomy so that I can be part of these discoveries in the future. Thank you so much for making your videos and inspiring a generation of scientists.

2 years ago | [YT] | 52

Roli Rivelino

Einstein: I've just worked out with a pencil and a bit of paper that gravity can bend light and therefore we will one day detect gravitational waves

Rest of human race: Yeah we're gonna need about a century to let technology catch up with you.

Einstein: Drops mic, walks off stage.

2 years ago | [YT] | 8


Humans have been astronomers for only about 400 years. Imagine what we will be able to detect when we've been at it for 4,000 years. The sad thing is none of us will be around to experience those discoveries. Rocket science..... pfffft. Baby stuff.

2 years ago | [YT] | 243

Edgar Allan Poe

Imagine there are still people out there believing the earth is flat...

2 years ago | [YT] | 800

Patrick Hodson

"It's a phenomenal time to be studying the universe."
I totally agree, but also I think this is always true. No matter how much we may or may not know, it's always cool to learn more.

2 years ago | [YT] | 2

Peak Torque

Italians were out at lunch getting boozed on wine. Thats why

2 years ago | [YT] | 28

Spaghetti Monster

Just awesome, this video made me realize something (even though I had to rewind it every 45 seconds). Many people are visual learners like myself, and although some peoples math skills may suck like my own, seeing experiments with our eyes makes so much more sense than the numeral equations on paper (that's right I said paper, the stuff we use to use long before you could talk to your watch). I don't even know if this makes sense but do you remember being a little kid in the "knowledge sponge" stage? Everything was magnified and not just because you were shorter and therefore closer to the ground, but because of laser focus on something that was brand new and was interesting to you.

I have a.d.d. so focusing is a very difficult thing to do, I find that i have to be very aware of mind wandering and often have to re-read sentences or rewind videos because even though i am extremely aware of my loss of focus, it happens often and awareness is not a solution @ all. Also, i don't believe attention deficit disorder is a learning deficiency. When i lose focus on something, it isnt so that i can drool at the pretty colours of a flower that caught my eye, it means my brain automatically asks a billion questions about the observed flower and it's pretty colours lol and those flower questions receive 100% of my precision focus. We can see many things @ once but our brains can not focus on more than one thing @ a time unlike Nvidia's autonomous car computer making 24 Trillion AI operations per second (which I think is actually on the lower scale of the possible AI simultaneous computation), anyways that is a different rant for another time.

I remember being a little kid and the concept clicked in my head about the opposite views from either end and all the space in between a microscope and a telescope view, and there was this symmetry in everything. When we were little kids our brains were like a sponge, I remember following a caterpillar along a stream bank across the field, up into a tree for what seemed to be hours each day on my belly crawling along with my nose an inch away from it in the dirt, just fascinated by the patterns, colors and movement, how it ate, what it ate, where it lived.

Even though it was all brand new information, everything that caterpillar did and the way that it moved all seemed to make perfect sense. As a little kid seeing all the patterns in everything around us from the design on the back of a caterpillar to the veins in a tree leaf it was all much more interesting than any sci fi movie. Mandelbrot mayhem everywhere, everything in nature seemed to be following some sort of natural law. As a little kid we didn't know what any of those forces were and certainly could not articulate it @ the time, but we did UNDERSTAND the effects and reaction of those laws such as gravity and fluid motion, even as a child it just made sense. There was no way i could have turned that sense into equations, and I still can't.

Anyways, love your channel keep up the good work.
The kids of today will be brilliant tomorrow because
of you and other channels like yours.

2 years ago | [YT] | 4


wait a second.
1.5 second gap...that's seems like an awful long period of "silence" between the actual merge event and the GRB event. why the pause?

2 years ago | [YT] | 172


"its a phenomenal time to study the universe" i loved that one. any book recomendations to get started?? :D

2 years ago | [YT] | 0


1:46 (flashbacks to solving linear & quadratic systems of inequalities)

2 years ago | [YT] | 0


I was so excited when I first read about this... unsurprisingly, I still am 😁 great video coverage mate

2 years ago | [YT] | 0

Esra Erimez

This just made my nether regions tingle.

2 years ago | [YT] | 7

Martiddy - Sama

I like how this channel becomes the official announcer of LIGO eveytime we detect gravitational waves. Awesome!

2 years ago | [YT] | 208