Big Flash: Record-breaking explosion in outer space | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News

Big Flash: Record-breaking explosion in outer space

By
9:54am, February 23, 2005

Astronomers report the brightest flash of light ever recorded from beyond the solar system. In just 0.2 second on Dec. 27, 2004, spacecraft detected a stellar outburst that radiated as much energy as the sun emits in 250,000 years.

But breaking a record wasn't the only reason that astronomers were beaming at a NASA press briefing last week. They may also have solved a mystery. By tracing the outburst to a magnetar, the rare type of star with the strongest magnetic field known, the scientists may be able to account for a puzzling group of extremely short-lived gamma-ray bursts from distant galaxies.

These bursts pack a greater intensity of the highest-energy gamma rays than do others, lasting more than 2 seconds, that have been identified as the likely birth cries of bl

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

[title_1]
From the Nature Index Paid Content