The news: Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the known universe, thought to be released when a massive star collapses into a black hole or neutron star. Scientists have just discovered a pair of themmore powerful than we could have imagined: one was 1 trillion times more powerful than visible light.
How they did it: The detections were made by two observatories: the Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov (MAGIC) system, which uses two telescopes situated on one of the Canary Islands, and the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS), an array of five telescopes in Namibia.
The context: It’s an unprecedented pair of findings that should help us find more of these exotic events. They could also help paint a clearer view of what was going on in distant parts of the universe billions and billions of years ago. Read the full story.