Cosmic Explosion So Strange Scientists Say It’s “Unprecedented”

“SWIFT had never seen another object outside of our galaxy appear to act this way. It is quite unlike anything we've known before, except maybe blazars.”

- Andrew Fruchter, Ph.D., Astronomer, Space Telescope Science Institute

NASA's and ESA's SWIFT gamma-ray burst telescope detected a strong gamma ray burst (GRB) on March 28, 2011, that rapidly oscillated for more than a day and is still detectable after nearly a month. Normal gamma ray bursts last on average no more than 30 seconds. Could this be the first-ever image of a black hole tearing apart a star?  April 4, 2011 image by Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA's and ESA's SWIFT gamma-ray burst telescope detected a strong gamma ray burst (GRB) on March 28, 2011, that rapidly oscillated for more than a day and is still detectable after nearly a month. Normal gamma ray bursts last on average no more than 30 seconds. Could this be the first-ever image of a black hole tearing apart a star?  April 4, 2011 image by Hubble Space Telescope.

April 29, 2011  Baltimore, Maryland - Since the Big Bang, the most powerful explosions in this universe are huge flashes of gamma-ray bursts, or GRBs. Extremely rare and fleeting, the sources of gamma-ray bursts are billions of light-years from Earth outside our Milky Way galaxy. Their gamma intensity is so great that if there were a GRB in our galaxy pointed directly towards Earth, it would cause mass extinction. So far scientists do not know what causes them. Are they black holes tearing massive stars apart? Or two neutron stars colliding? Or something else even more exotic?

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