XMM-Newton's view of a neutron star merger
The elliptical galaxy NGC 4993, about 130 million light-years from Earth, viewed by ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory.
The bright region to the upper left of the galaxy corresponds to the remnant of the neutron star merger that was first detected as a gravitational wave source by the LIGO/Virgo collaboration (and as a gamma-ray burst by ESA's Integral and NASA's Fermi satellites) on 17 August 2017.
XMM-Newton observed this source on 29 December 2017, obtaining the first evidence that its X-ray brightness, after four months of constant rise, had stopped increasing. The further evolution of this system will provide new insight into its geometry and the explosion that created it.
Last Update: 1 September 2019