NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Swift gamma-ray burst observatory and a gamma-ray burst (white), computer artwork. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are seemingly random flashes of gamma rays coming from random places that are billions of light years away from Earth. To capture these GRBs, Swift uses its Burst Alert Telescope (BAT), X-ray Telescope (XRT) and Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT). BAT is highly sensitive, detecting more gamma-ray phenomena than other all-sky surveys. When BAT spots a GRB, Swift quickly responds by facing the GRB and capturing it with the XRT and UVOT. This study into GRBs began in November 2004, when Swift was launched into its low orbit around Earth.
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