Spitzer Sees Flicker of Neutron Star Collision

Spitzer_ssc2017-14a_1024

spitzer_ssc2017-14a October 16th, 2017

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope has provisionally detected the faint afterglow of the explosive merger of two neutron stars in the galaxy NGC 4993. The event, labeled GW170817, was initially detected nearly simultaneously in gravitational waves and gamma rays, but subsequent observations by many dozens of telescopes have monitored its afterglow across the entire spectrum of light. Spitzers observation on September 29th comes late in the game, just over 6 weeks after the event was first seen, but if this weak detection is verified, it will play an important role in helping astronomers understand how many of the heaviest elements in the periodic table are created in explosive neutron star mergers.

The left panel is a color composite of the 3.6 and 4.5 micron channels of the Spitzer IRAC instrument, rendered in cyan and red. The center panel is a median-filtered color composite showing a faint red dot at the known location of the event. The right panel shows the residual 4.5 micron data after subtracting out the light of the galaxy using an archival image that predates the event.

Provider: Spitzer Space Telescope

Image Source: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6418-ssc2017-14a-Spitzer-Sees-Flicker-of-Neutron-Star-Collision

Curator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, CA, USA

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Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
NGC 4993
Subject - Local Universe
Galaxy > Type > Lenticular

Distance

Universescale3
130,000,000 light years
Spitzer_ssc2017-14a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 13h 9m 48.0s
DEC = -23° 22’ 58.4”
Orientation
North is 106.2° CW
Field of View
22.5 x 9.3 arcminutes
Constellation
Hydra

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Cyan Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared 3.6 µm
Red Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared 4.5 µm
Spectrum_base
Cyan
Red
Spitzer_ssc2017-14a_1280
×
ID
ssc2017-14a
Subject Category
C.5.1.3  
Subject Name
NGC 4993
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Release Date
2017-10-16
Lightyears
130,000,000
Redshift
0.009727
Reference Url
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6418-ssc2017-14a-Spitzer-Sees-Flicker-of-Neutron-Star-Collision
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Spitzer, Spitzer
Instrument
IRAC, IRAC
Color Assignment
Cyan, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
3600, 4500
Start Time
2017-09-29T20:36
Integration Time
26.8
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
197.449881, -23.382898
Reference Dimension
2249, 933
Reference Pixel
1125, 466
Scale
-1.66667000000000e-04, 1.66667000000000e-04
Rotation
-106.15855
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Spitzer Space Telescope
URL
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
spitzer
Resource ID
ssc2017-14a.tif
Metadata Date
2018-08-01
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
130,000,000 light years

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