Astronomers have discovered the first binary star system destined to end up as a kilonova –

Astronomers have found the first known binary star system destined to end up as a so-called kilonova. This is a phenomenon so rare that there are probably only ten systems in our entire galaxy that can have the same outcome.

“We know that the Milky Way contains at least 100 billion stars and probably hundreds of billions more. For one this remarkable binary system, there are essentially ten billion other systems.” stated researcher André-Nicolas Chené.

“Prior to our study, it was estimated that only one or two such systems should exist in a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way,” he added.

A spectacular explosion

The so-called CPD-29 2176 includes a massive star that orbits a neutron star. The former will also become a neutron star in the future, after which both will collide and form a kilonova.

According to experts, new research, the results of which were published by the prestigious journal Nature, can help us better understand how the heaviest elements in the universe are formed.

“These heavy elements allow us to live the way we live,” he explained Chené’s associate Noel D. Richardson. “Most of the gold was created by supernova- or neutron-star-like stars in the binary system we studied. Astronomy deepens our understanding of the world and our place in it.”

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