An orbiting telescope records the universe’s most powerful explosions
Space is full of fireworks: Galaxies smash into each other, dying stars explode and high-energy particles race toward us at the speed of light. The most powerful explosions in the universe are brilliant flashes of light called gamma-ray bursts. If you happened to fly through the neighborhood of a gamma-ray burst, you couldn’t miss the flare — it would be brighter than a million trillion suns.
On September 15, 2008, a gamma-ray burst in the constellation Carina (which is best seen from the Southern Hemisphere) was recorded. This February, after studying the data, astronomers announced the gamma-ray burst was the most energetic explosion ever seen.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.