Latest High Energy Transient Explorer Stories
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.
An international team of astronomers led by Danish astronomer Jens Hjorth  has for the first time observed the visible light from a short gamma-ray burst (GRB). Using the 1.5m Danish telescope at La Silla (Chile), they showed that these short, intense bursts of gamma-ray emission most likely originate from the violent collision of two merging neutron stars. The same team has also used ESO's Very Large Telescope to constrain the birthplace of the first ever short burst whose position could...
An international team of scientists using three NASA satellites and a host of ground-based telescopes believes it has solved the greatest remaining mystery of the mysterious gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the most powerful explosions in the universe. The shorter of two versions of these bursts appear to be caused by the collision of closely orbiting neutron stars or one of those compact stars and a black hole, said the University of Chicago's Don Lamb.
First simultaneous observation of a gamma-ray burst in the X-ray and in the very high energy gamma ray band
Observations of a cosmic explosion detected on Feb. 15 by two NASA satellites have thrown into doubt one popular explanation for such explosions and have also seriously weakened the argument for yet another. But solving the mystery any time soon may be forestalled by plans to shut down one of the satellites in September.
Imagine an explosion that could emit a million times more energy than the combined output of all the stars in the Milky Way. If you could hear this burst, it would deafen you. If you could see one, it would blind you. Any life within a radius of many solar systems would be annihilated.