CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gamma ray burst formation, artwork. A gamma ray burst (GRB) is a short, intense emission of gamma rays from a point source in space. There are thought to be two types of GRB, one long duration one thought to form from the supernova-like collapse of a massive star, and the shorter duration version depicted here. In this case, the jet of gamma rays is emitted during the collision of two neutron stars. The neutron stars orbit ever closer until their immense gravity tears them apart, releasing a huge amount of energy. This is emitted as gamma rays, but the emission is short- lived as the stars rapidly coalesce into a black hole.
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