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NASA Grant To Help IU Kokomo Professor Study Star ‘Deaths’

Patrick Motl will receive $350,000 over the next three years to study what happens when neutron stars collide with one another or interact with black holes.

neutron star with black hole

Photo: Dana Berry/NASA

A black hole envelops a neutron star.

An Indiana University-Kokomo physics professor has received a NASA grant to continue research on stars which are near the end of their lives.

Patrick Motl will receive $350,000 over the next three years to study what happens when neutron stars collide with one another or interact with black holes.

But there are not any nearby, so Motl has to rely on faint bits of light seen through powerful telescopes.

“In particular what we are looking for are other kinds of light that may have been given off that people haven’t  looked at before,” Motl says. “There would be a signal that this thing that we missed gamma ray burst and it is actually a merger between two neutron stars.”

Motl and his team will assemble simulations from their data to show what the telescopes cannot.

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