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Writer Fuel: There’s A Thing Called a Kilonova, and Astronomers Found One About to Happen

supernova - deposit photos

For the first time, scientists have discovered a double-star system that is doomed to explode in a fiery “kilonova,” a precious-metal-creating blast caused by the merger of two stellar corpses.

The kilonova — which will send gold, silver, platinum and other new heavy elements careening into space — won’t happen for millions of years. But the precursor system that is set up for this massive merger is a rare sight nonetheless, consisting of one massive star and a dense, dead neutron star locked in a shared orbit. Astronomers estimate that there are fewer than 10 such systems in our galaxy.

“We know that the Milky Way contains at least 100 billion stars and likely hundreds of billions more,” André-Nicolas Chené, an astronomer at the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab, said in a statement. “This remarkable binary system is essentially a one-in-ten-billion system. Prior to our study, the estimate was that only one or two such systems should exist in a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way.”

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Full Story From Live Science

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