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Gamma-ray Bursts: Harvesting Knowledge From the Universe’s Most Powerful Explosions

7 min read

The most powerful events in the known universe – gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) – are short-lived outbursts of the highest-energy light. They can erupt with a quintillion (a 10 followed by 18 zeros) times the luminosity of our Sun. Now thought…

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How NASA Chases and Investigates Bright Cosmic Blips

9 min read

Stephen Lesage’s phone started vibrating just after halftime on Oct. 9, 2022, while he was watching a soccer game in Atlanta with a friend. When Lesage saw the incoming messages, the match no longer seemed important. There had been a…

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NASA’s Fermi Detects Surprise Gamma-Ray Feature Beyond Our Galaxy

5 min read

Astronomers analyzing 13 years of data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have found an unexpected and as yet unexplained feature outside of our galaxy. “It is a completely serendipitous discovery,” said Alexander Kashlinsky, a cosmologist at the University of…

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NASA’s Fermi Mission Creates 14-Year Time-Lapse of the Gamma-Ray Sky

4 min read

The cosmos comes alive in an all-sky time-lapse movie made from 14 years of data acquired by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Our Sun, occasionally flaring into prominence, serenely traces a path through the sky against the backdrop of high-energy…

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NASA’s Fermi Mission Nets 300 Gamma-Ray Pulsars … and Counting

7 min read

A new catalog produced by a French-led international team of astronomers shows that NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has discovered 294 gamma-ray-emitting pulsars, while another 34 suspects await confirmation. This is 27 times the number known before the mission launched…

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NASA’s Webb Makes First Detection of Heavy Element From Star Merger

8 min read

Webb’s study of the second-brightest gamma-ray burst ever seen reveals tellurium. A team of scientists has used multiple space and ground-based telescopes, including NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, and NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, to…

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Gamma-Ray Bursts: Black Hole Birth Announcements

4 min read

Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest, most violent explosions in the universe, but they can be surprisingly tricky to detect. Our eyes can’t see them because they are tuned to just a limited portion of the types of light that exist,…

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NASA Looks Back at 50 Years of Gamma-Ray Burst Science

9 min read

Fifty years ago, on June 1, 1973, astronomers around the world were introduced to a powerful and perplexing new phenomenon called GRBs (gamma-ray bursts). Today sensors on orbiting satellites like NASA’s Swift and Fermi missions detect a GRB somewhere in…

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What’s Made in a Thunderstorm and Faster Than Lightning? Gamma Rays!

3 min read

Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has spotted gamma rays coming from thunderstorms.

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NASA Missions Study What May Be a 1-In-10,000-Year Gamma-ray Burst

9 min read

On Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, a pulse of intense radiation swept through the solar system so exceptional that astronomers quickly dubbed it the BOAT – the brightest of all time. After spending months combing through the data, astronomers now better…

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