Why gamma-ray burst shocked scientists
An X-ray telescope image of GRB130427A.
May 6th, 2013
10:50 AM ET

Why gamma-ray burst shocked scientists

By Meg Urry, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Meg Urry is the Israel Munson professor of physics and astronomy and chairwoman of the department of physics at Yale University, where she is the director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics

On April 27, NASA's Fermi and Swift satellites detected a strong signal from the brightest gamma-ray burst in decades. Because this was relatively close, it was thousands of times brighter than the typical gamma-ray bursts that are seen by Swift every few days. Scientists are now scrambling to learn more.

We already knew that when the biggest stars run out of fuel, they don't fade quietly away. Instead, they explode in a blaze of glory known as a supernova. These stellar explosions are often bright enough to be seen by us even though they are in galaxies billions of light-years from our own Milky Way galaxy home.

In very rare cases - such as GRB130427A (tagged with the date of its discovery) - astrophysicists are lucky enough to see energetic gamma-rays from hyperfast jets of outflowing material consisting of charged particles created during a massive star's violent death throes.


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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. name


    May 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  2. kethy149

    uptil I looked at the paycheck saying $8734, I didn't believe ...that...my brothers friend was actually erning money part time online.. there dads buddy has done this 4 only about 14 months and at present repaid the depts on there appartment and purchased a brand new Maserati. we looked here,.......... fox85. com

    May 11, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  3. Buck Rogers

    Awe, poor little 'exploding star'.... But hey cheer up folks because NASA discovered an 'alien planet'....


    May 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • StarGazer


      May 6, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Elroy Jetson

      Oh no. A star is unborn. **sob**

      May 13, 2013 at 11:37 am |


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