When neutron stars collide

1. Gravitational waves are detected

Two neutron stars orbit each other 30 times per second, distorting space and time

Only about 12 miles across, each star is more massive than the sun

2. 100 seconds later

Now orbiting at 2,000 times per second and on the brink of colliding, the stars are being distorted by intense gravity

3. Two seconds later

After the briefest pause, where Ligo could detect nothing, the stars violently merge, emitting a burst of gamma rays

4. Afterglow

Scientists spot a new light in the sky, the afterglow of the collision, which they are able to identify as the source of the gravitational waves and gamma ray burst

The neutron stars probably collapsed into a black hole

Spectrometers detect heavy elements such as silver and gold

1. Gravitational waves are detected

2. 100 seconds later

Now orbiting at 2,000 times per second and on the brink of colliding, the stars are being distorted by intense gravity

Two neutron stars orbit each other 30 times per second, distorting space and time

Only about 12 miles across, each star is more massive than the sun

3. Two seconds later

4. Afterglow

After the briefest pause, where Ligo could detect nothing, the stars violently merge, emitting a burst of gamma rays

Scientists spot a new light in the sky, the afterglow of the collision, which they are able to identify as the source of the gravitational waves and gamma ray burst

The neutron stars probably collapsed into a black hole

Spectrometers detect heavy elements such as silver and gold