The spectacular collision of two neutron stars over 500 million light-years away from Earth has been spotted through the detection of gravitational waves.
The neutron stars – remnants of dying stars that undergo catastrophic explosions as they collapse at the end of their lives – merged into an unusually large single object that was around 3.4 times the mass of our sun, the team report.
The discovery was made by a large group of international scientists working for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration.
The Gravitational Physics Group at Cardiff University are key members of LIGO and have made important contributions to the detection of gravitational waves to date.
Dr Vivien Raymond, from the School of Physics and Astronomy, was the co-leader of the team that determined the properties of the merging objects in this latest detection.