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This is an image of the area of the sky where the gamma-ray burst was observed. You'll see that the star at the center of the image has significantly faded in the course of one day (indicating rapidly dimming afterglow of the gamma ray burst).
Click on image for full size
NASA Photo Credit: Columbia University

The Biggest Explosion Since the Big Bang
News story originally written on May 11, 1998

A burst of energy was measured on December 14, 1997. Findings are just being released that claim that this burst is the most powerful explosion since the Big Bang!

This gamma-ray burst came from a faint galaxy 12 billion light years away. "The energy released by this burst in its first few seconds staggers the imagination," said Caltech professor Shrinivas Kulkarni. This burst released several hundred times more energy than a supernova!

Scientists are really not sure what could create this kind of explosion. Some scientists think the answer lies in black holes or something even more exotic!

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA