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Colliding white dwarfs
Movie (6.9 MB)

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VIDEO:

As a pair of white dwarfs steadily spiral inward, they churn the sea of space-time. The gravitational waves become more intense as the stars accelerate faster and faster, edging ever closer to a merger. Stars in the binary system RX J0806.3+1527 are only 50,000 miles apart. Merging white dwarfs might create a neutron star. Although they won't merge for another few hundred thousand years, these stars now might be one of the brightest sources of gravitational waves known. The Chandra X-ray Observatory has found indirect evidence for this; direct detection could come with the launch of the LISA mission.

 

A service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC

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