Credit & Copyright: R. Klebesadel, I. Strong & R. Olson (LANL), Vela ProjectExplanation: Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) were discovered by accident. Thirty three years ago today, satellites first recorded a GRB. The data plotted here show that the count rate of the satellite gamma-ray instrument abruptly jumped indicating a sudden flash of gamma-rays. The Vela satellites that detected this and other GRBs were developed to test technology to monitor nuclear test ban treaties. With on board sensors they watched for brief x-ray and gamma-ray flashes, the telltale signatures of nuclear explosions. As intended, the Velas found flashes of gamma-rays - but not from nuclear detonations near Earth. Instead, the flashes were determined to come from deep space! Dubbed "cosmic gamma-ray bursts" they are now known to be the most powerful explosions originating in distant galaxies. What could power a gamma-ray burst?
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Publications with keywords: gamma-ray burst - explosion - vela satellite - gamma ray
Publications with words: gamma-ray burst - explosion - vela satellite - gamma ray