When Neutron Stars Collide! What the Hubble Telescope and Others Saw (Videos)

The Hubble Space Telescope was used to capture imagery of GW170817, the source of gravitational waves detected on Aug. 17, 2017.
The Hubble Space Telescope was used to capture imagery of GW170817, the source of gravitational waves detected on Aug. 17, 2017. (Image credit: NASA and ESA)

On Aug. 17, 2017, gravitational waves from a neutron-star collision were detected for the first time ever by LIGO and Virgo collaborations and - in another first - light from the event has been captured by observatories in space and on Earth. The source has been designated GW170817 and is described as a "kilonova" event.

Gravitational Waves Detected from Neutron-Star Crashes: The Discovery Explained

See videos of the event as it appeared through the lenses of the Hubble Space Telecope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Gemini Observatory and more. 

Hubble Space Telescope observes source of gravitational waves

The Hubble Space Telescope operated by NASA and the European Space Agency captured imagery of the source of the gravitational waves detection. Learn more about it from the Hubblecast video:

'Kilonova' from neutron star merger observed by multiple ESO telescopes

Several European Southern Observatory telescopes in Chile's Atacama Desert were used to discover the "kilonova," the merging of the neutron stars. Learn more about it in this ESOCast video: 

Chandra X-ray Observatory's first detection of GW170817

Scientists with the Chandra X-ray Observatory, a space-based telescope, explain the first X-ray detection of gravitational waves source in this tour of the event's location in space:

Gemini Observatory, Swope and Megellan Telescopes imagery

Theoretical astrophysicist Daniel Kasen at the University of California, Berkeley, describes how the neutron star collision was discovered and what its debris is comprised of:

Observations from CSIRO Telescope in Australia

University of Sydney associate professor Tara Murphy talks about hearing about the gravitational waves detection of the neutron star merger  and the CSIRO telescope observations:


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Steve Spaleta
Senior Producer

Steve Spaleta is Space.com's Senior Producer. Since 2007, Steve has produced and edited space, science and entertainment-related videos for Space.com. He is also the producer/writer/editor of Space.com's CosMix series on space-enthused artists. He studied psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and is originally from Zadar, Croatia by way of Astoria, NY. To see Steve's latest project, follow him on Twitter and follow Space.com's VideoFromSpace YouTube Channel.