Animation of the merger of two neutron stars. As the two bodies draw closer together, they circle each other hundreds of times each second until they eventually collide, producing a tremendous explosion and an expanding shell of debris. This detonation also produces gravitational waves, which travel outward at the speed of light.
The collision also may create a black hole at the center.
Following the explosion, high-power jets of particles traveling nearly the speed of light quickly encounter the expanding debris, forming a cocoon of high velocity material, and then travel into interstellar space where they excite the dust and gas between the stars, producing an enduring radio “glow” that astronomers can study from Earth.