The Atlantic

A Movie 130 Million Years in the Making

The spectacular neutron-star collision eventually faded from view, but it was immortalized by space animators.
Source: ESO / L. Calçada / M. Kornmesser

It took 130 million years for astronomers to see the light. On August 17, scientists observed through telescopes a small, glowing orb, the remnants of a collision between two neutron stars in another galaxy that triggered universe-bending gravitational waves. They watched as the sphere changed from royal blue to crimson red, as lighter chemical elements in the cloud of radioactive debris gave way to heavier ones, like gold, platinum, and silver. About a week later, it faded.

The light show may be over in the night sky,

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