Potete leggere la serie di articoli sui GRB a questi indirizzi.
A Brief Mystery: What are Short Gamma-ray Bursts?
October 20, 2008: For decades it was baffling. Out of the still night sky, astronomers peering through their telescopes would occasionally glimpse quick bursts of high-energy light popping off like flashbulbs at the far side of the universe.
These bursts seemed impossibly powerful: to appear so bright from so very far away, they must vastly outshine entire galaxies containing hundreds of billions of stars. These explosions, called gamma ray bursts (GRBs), are by far the brightest and most energetic phenomena in the known universe, second only to the Big Bang itself. Scientists were at a loss to imagine what could possibly cause them.
Astronomers now know what the longer-lasting GRBs are: the collapse and explosion of an ultra-massive star to form a black hole at its core, an explanation first proposed by Stan Woosley of the University of California in San Diego. But there’s a second category of GRBs that still remains a mystery.
"The short-lived ones are very poorly understood. It's where the frontier [of research] is now," says Neil Gehrels, principal investigator for the GRB-detecting Swift satellite at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Gehrels and other researchers have gathered this week at the Sixth Huntsville Gamma Ray Burst Symposium in Huntsville, Ala., to discuss progress on this and other mysteries surrounding GRBs.