Illustration: two neutron stars begin to merge (Surprise kilonova upends established understanding of long gamma-ray bursts)

Two neutron stars begin to merge in this illustration, blasting a jet of high-speed particles and producing a cloud of debris. Scientists think these kinds of events are factories for a significant portion of the universe’s heavy elements, including gold.

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Credit: A. Simonnet (Sonoma State University) and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center