It's an earth-shattering discovery. One that gives astronomers an idea of where heavy metals come from. Channel 3 spoke with NASA Astrophysicist Dr. Brad Cenko Tuesday about what the discovery means.

"Gravitational waves or ripples in space time from the merger of two ultra dense dead stars; this collision created a violent explosion, and for the first time we were able to observe light associated with these mergers," states Cenko.

Alarms sounded in Hanford, Washington, and then immediately in  Livingston, Louisiana on August 17, when antennas detected an explosion in space. For the first time an explosion like this could be detected from Earth. Dr. Brad Cenko says the light was glowing debris, made up of massive amounts of metals, and is an example of how these metals likely came to Earth.

"This single explosion formed 100 solid earth's worth of gold and platinum," states Cenko.

That's an enormous amount of metal that is so heavy it's hard to fathom. It's mass is one and a half times our sun, but it is no wider than Washington DC.

Cenko states, "The systems that actually collided to give rise to this explosion, we call neutron stars. If you imagine you had a teaspoon of this material, sitting here on Earth, it would weigh as much as Mount Everest. These are really fascinating systems."

NASA continues to investigate systems, proving Einstein's theories that waves across the universe are like ripples on a pond.

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