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NASA’s Hubble solves mystery of the origin of short gamma ray bursts

August 05, 2013

NASA’s Hubble solves mystery of the origin of short gamma ray bursts

It has long been predicted that a kilonova would accompany a short-duration GRB, but this is the first time anyone has witnessed such an event.

Strong evidence from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope lends support to the theory that short-duration gamma ray bursts are produced from the merging of two small, super-dense stellar objects.

The proof came with the detection of a new stellar blast, called a kilonova. A kilonova occurs when a pair of compact objects crash together, releasing a burst of energy. Hubble observed one such energy release last month, subsequent to a short gamma ray burst (GRB) in a galaxy 4 billion light-years from Earth. It has long been predicted that a kilonova would accompany a short-duration GRB, but this is the first time anyone has witnessed such an event.

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