Causing horror: Discovered a new way of death of stars

Everything in our Universe is in motion: planets, stars, asteroids and moons. Every cosmic object that we have discovered so far, no matter what size it is — from a tiny speck of dust to huge clusters of galaxies – it is moving. We see this in collisions and mergers of galaxies, in how black holes merge into one, as well as in collisions of stars. Recently, scientists have discovered a completely new way of star death, which they had not even imagined before.

We have known for a long time that stars can devour each other, extracting energy and matter, until there is nothing left but remnants. But now astronomers have found evidence that a collision between stars can lead to their death. New research published in the journal Nature Astronomy suggests that gamma-ray bursts can also occur due to such collisions. 

The evidence was obtained using the Gemini South Observatory in Chile, the Northern Optical Telescope and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers used these telescopes to investigate gamma-ray bursts recorded by the Swift Observatory in 2019. These flares, designated as GRB 191019A, were quite long and lasted just over a minute. 

The researchers managed to find the source of the flare – deep in the core of the ancient galaxy, in the direction of the constellation Aquarius, about 100 light-years from the center. According to the observations, astronomers suggested that the collision of two compact objects led to the appearance of a gamma-ray flare, and it was not just the collapse of a massive star. On the contrary, the death of two stars most likely contributed to the appearance of a powerful flare.

This discovery is especially exciting because the galaxy is so old that most of the stars that can burn up due to a gamma-ray flash have long since died. Therefore, astronomers were surprised when the flare led them to this galaxy. But these new data reveal a terrible reality: the death of stars as a result of a collision could be devastating for other star systems in the future.

Earlier we talked about how massive stars die.

According to Reuters

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