Gamma ray bursts is one of the most energetic phenomena that takes place in the Universe. It consists of the production of sudden gamma ray emissions that can last from less than a second to several minutes. They take place at great distances from Earth, almost at the limits of the observable Universe.
After an abrupt emission of gamma rays, a visible light glow usually occurs, and thanks to the VLT, the Very Large Telescope Project of Cerro Paranal (Chile), the farthest known example of this process has been detected. The light of this astronomical source so far has taken more than 13,000 million years to reach Earth. This means that we see it as it was when the Universe was less than 600 million years old.
It has been calculated that the explosion of gamma rays captured by the VLT could have released in a few seconds about 300 times the amount of energy that our Sun will release throughout its life, which will be more than 10,000 million years old. It is clear that gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful energy phenomenon in the Universe since the Big Bang.
Today we continue investigating what is the origin of this type of explosions. In 2005 the ESO (European Organization for Astronomical) telescopes first detected the visible light that occurs after a short duration gamma ray emission. They followed this light for three weeks, concluding that explosive sources of short-lived gamma rays could be generated by violent mergers of neutron stars or black holes.
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