Hubble's greatest hits!Skip navigation



1. Grease monkeys in space

2. Some instamatic camera!

3. Image gallery

4. Quirky quasars

5. Spectacular spectrum

6. This star done gone

7. What's making these gamma rays?

8. Wheel of stars

9. Gaseous galaxy

10. Really northern lights

11. Ships do it

12. Demolition derby



  The biggest question mark
Bright circle in middle of orange-red sky, with swirls of gas around it.
Mysterious, monstrously powerful and persnickety... Nothing drives an astrophysicist bonkers quite like a gamma-ray burst. For a few seconds, these units blaze like 100 million billion suns, and then they just go bye-bye. Hubble doesn't do (measure) gamma rays, but it did capture the fading light that followed one burst, located about two-thirds of the way across the universe.

The distorted galaxy around the gamma-ray source indicates that the galaxy may have collided with another one. The gamma ray burst, however, may have been produced by a merger of two neutron stars or even a couple of black holes. One more clue: bright blue light emitted in the area indicates intense star formation, stimulated perhaps by a shock wave from the suspected source of the gamma ray burst.




  The Why Files   There are 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 pages in this feature.
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