In the endless Universe, various mysterious processes are constantly taking place. When two neutron stars collide, a fireworks display called a kilonova occurs. That event goes beyond the understanding of science. The explosion releases a tremendous amount of energy. The flash does not last long, but it is a hundred million times brighter than the Sun. After the collision, a shattered object remains, which becomes a black hole.
But NASA's Hubble Telescope discovered something else that is surprising. Earlier and in other stellar collisions, the astronomers observed an intense flux of gamma rays. But in near infrared light, nothing like that has ever been observed.
Although previously the flux of radiation from X-rays to radio waves seemed typical, infrared radiation was not observed. It turned out to be 10 times brighter than expected for kilonova stars. The astronomers see one of the explanations for the ongoing event in the fact that colliding neutron stars merged to form a more powerful neutron star.
The new formation formed a powerful magnetic field that made it a unique class of objects called magnetars. They transfer energy to the discarded material, obliging it to glow much brighter in infrared light. Millions of years ago, a huge burst of gamma rays released a gigantic amount of energy in half a second. It is exactly the volume of the Sun's energy for its entire period of existence.
This May, echoes of that event reached the Earth and were first detected by the NASA laboratory. The scientists attracted the latest telescopes to study that phenomenon, and one of them, Hubble, came as a surprise.
X-rays and radio emissions showed what confused the astronomers. The near-infrared radiation was found to be nearly 10 times brighter than anticipated. These results challenge traditional theories about what happens in space after short GRBs.
One of the features to be tested by the scientists is the possibility of the birth of a new, with the highest magnetic field, massive neutron star, which is called a magnetar.