Imagine the Universe!

Colliding white dwarfs
Movie (6.9 MB)



As a pair of white dwarfs steadily spiral inward, they churn the sea of space-time. The gravitational waves become more intense as the stars accelerate faster and faster, edging ever closer to a merger. Stars in the binary system RX J0806.3+1527 are only 50,000 miles apart. Merging white dwarfs might create a neutron star. Although they won't merge for another few hundred thousand years, these stars now might be one of the brightest sources of gravitational waves known. The Chandra X-ray Observatory has found indirect evidence for this; direct detection could come with the launch of the LISA mission.

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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