Blasts from the Past | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Help us keep you informed.

Real Science. Real News.


Feature

Blasts from the Past

Astronomers begin to go the distance with gamma-ray bursts

By
11:15am, February 7, 2006

Just before 10 p.m. EDT, last Sept. 3, Dan Reichart's cell phone started playing "The Stars and Stripes Forever." A fitting tune, since it was heralding a call from the heavens. Reichart's phone was signaling that a detector on NASA's Swift satellite had registered a gamma-ray burst, the most powerful type of explosion in the universe. Such bursts—none of which lasts longer than a few minutes—typically mark the violent death of a massive star as it collapses to become a black hole.

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content