Explosive News: Telescopes find signs of gentler gamma-ray bursts

10:20am, August 4, 2004

Some of the most powerful explosions in the universe could be 10 times as abundant as astronomers had assumed. That suggestion comes from two new studies indicating that many gamma-ray bursts—intense flashes of gamma-ray photons—go undetected because they don't pack quite as much punch as do the bursts that astronomers have recorded for years.

According to a leading theory, gamma-ray bursts arise when a dying star collapses to become a rotating black hole or a neutron star. The gamma rays emerge when particles jetting from a doughnut-shaped disk surrounding the collapsed star plow into surrounding space.

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