A titanic collision between two neutron stars produced a jet that was blasted across space at speeds greater than 99.97% the speed of light, according to a new measurement obtained by astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
It was the first time a binary neutron star merger produced both gravitational waves and gamma rays.
70 observatories on Earth and in space saw the effects of this merger across a significant portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in addition to the detection of gravitational waves.
This was a major advance in Time Domain and Multi-Messenger Astrophysics, which uses gravitational waves and light to investigate the cosmos across time.
For extremely long baseline interferometry, the Hubble observation was integrated with data from several National Science Foundation radio telescopes (VLBI).
According to the Hubble measurement, the jet was traveling at a speed that was seven times the speed of light.
The jet subsequently decelerated to an apparent speed that was four times faster than the speed of light, according to the radio measurements.
Hubble and VLBI findings from 2018 enhance the relationship between neutron star mergers and short-duration gamma-ray bursts.