Image Credit: Babak Tafreshi; Inset: Dana Berry, SkyWorks Digital, Inc.

That Gold on Your Finger May Be Dust from a Neutron Star

Telescopes pinpoint optical glow of a binary neutron star merger detected in gravitational waves

The precious elements in our Earth-bound bling are thought to have been forged in ancient fiery cataclysms, when pairs of neutron stars spiraled together and merged into black holes. Telescopes at CTIO recently pinpointed and studied the light from such a merger. The first optical counterpart to a gravitational wave detection, the discovery confirms that merging neutron star binaries are indeed major cosmic production sites of rare heavy elements.

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Read more in the NOAO Press Release: Cosmic Forge of Rare Heavy Elements Discovered.

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