An X-ray image of GRB 221009A

Stellar Science

Focusing on the Brightest Gamma-ray Burst of All Time

Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions in the universe, and we’ve learned much about these superlative outbursts since their discovery in 1967.

Merger illustration

Stellar Science

Gamma-ray Burst Surprise

Gamma-ray bursts are generally thought to come in two flavors — supernovae or neutron star mergers. But new discoveries are blurring that line.

Gamma-ray burst

Stellar Science

Brightest Gamma-Ray Burst Yet Lights Up the Sky

A recently detected gamma-ray burst GRB 221009A was so intense that it temporarily blinded instruments and disturbed Earth’s atmosphere.

Apollo 11 photo of Earth with glare from Sun

Science and Space Policy

Did Astronomers See a Distant, Dying Star? Or an Earth-bound Satellite?

What seemed a lucky break — the discovery of a gamma-ray burst in the most distant known galaxy — might instead be the flash of passing space debris. As satellites fill low-Earth orbit, such events might become common.

Giant flare on a magnetar

Stellar Science

Milky Way Magnetar Spits Gamma Rays on Schedule

A Milky Way magnetar surprises astronomers by burping up gamma rays right when their predictions anticipated.

Gamma-ray burst

Stellar Science

Astronomers Find Most Distant Gamma-ray Burst Yet

From the farthest-known galaxy in the observable universe comes the brightest and most energetic of events: a possible gamma-ray burst.

Birth of a Magnetar

Stellar Science

Gamma-ray Flash Heralds Birth of a Magnetar

What happens when two neutron stars don't add up to a black hole?

Gamma-ray burst illustration

Stellar Science

Astronomers See Extreme Photons from Collapsing Massive Stars

Astronomers have detected a long-sought signal from gamma-ray bursts — the highest-energy photons ever seen from these events.

Stellar Science

Two Explosions with Similar Quirks

High-energy radiation released during the merger of two neutron stars last year has left astronomers puzzled. Could a burst of gamma rays from 2015 help us to piece together a coherent picture of both explosions?


GRBs: A New Standard Candle?

Astronomers might be on the brink of developing a new rung on the cosmic distance ladder.

Stellar Science

Dead Stars Caught Colliding

Astronomers have detected a signal that looks like it's from two neutron stars crashing together. The observations could be solid evidence for the hypothesized culprits of short gamma-ray bursts.