October 25, 2005
Monitoring of the afterglow of GRB 031203, a gamma-ray burst 1.3 billion light years from Earth, with Chandra and other telescopes showed it was an unusual gamma-ray burst that radiated only a fraction of the energy of a normal gamma ray burst. Gamma-ray bursts, like supernovas are thought to be produced by the collapse of the core of a massive star. Many examples exist where the core collapses to form a neutron star, resulting in a supernova. But what occurs when a core collapses to form a black hole is uncertain. The discovery of substandard gamma-ray bursts should give astronomers valuable clues to the processes responsible for supernovas, black hole formation, and gamma ray bursts.
Topics: Environment, Stars, Astronomy, Nature, energy, Human Interest, GRB 060218, Gamma-ray burst progenitors, Gamma-ray burst, Stellar evolution, Supernovae, Neutron star, Supernova, Star types