Adam Hart-Davis - Phil Plait TV - Michio Kaku - Michelle Thaller - Stan Woosley - Perry Hacking - NASA launch of Swift - How the Universe Works TV - Stephen Hawking TV - The Universe TV - Horizon TV - Martin Rees -
They were discovered accidentally by spy satellites, and are so big, at first they were suspected of breaking the laws of physics. They’re called Gamma Ray Bursts or GRBs. These powerful bangs can be detected only from space as gamma rays don’t reach the ground. Adam Hart-Davis, The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide, BBC 2007
Supernovae, gamma ray bursts, solar flares – stars are the ticking time bombs of the universe. Phil Plait’s Bad Universe: Death Stars, Discovery 2010
A supernova is one of the most spectacular events in the universe. ibid.
When a star has thirty, fifty, a hundred times the mass of the sun ... It’s not just a supernova, it’s a hypernova. ibid.
A gamma ray burst from a hypernova explodes with such power that the beams are dangerous for a much greater distance. ibid.
The United States government launched the Vela satellite looking for nuclear detonations. And then looking in outer space they saw these monster explosions take place. And the military thought, Oh my God, the Russians! The Russians are testing secret atomic weapons in space. They began to look at where this radiation came from. It came from all over the galaxy, beyond the galaxy ... Then people began to realise that we were staring something new in the face. Professor Michio Kaku
Gamma Ray Bursts: they light up the entire universe. Professor Michio Kaku
Gamma Ray Bursts are the most violent event that we know of in the universe. Dr Michelle Thaller
A Gamma Ray Burst viewed jet-on is a hundred million times more luminous that a supernova. They are the champions for brightness for sure. Professor Stan Woosley
7Gamma ray bursts were discovered completely by accident by our military satellites. And came as a result of the Test Ban Treaty in the 1950s under Dwight Eisenhower. Perry Hacking, El Camino College
5-4-3-2- we have ignition and we have lift-off of NASA’s Swift space-craft on a mission to study and understand gamma-ray bursts throughout the universe. NASA launch of Swift
They were super-powerful explosions of high-energy radiation called Gamma Ray Bursts. And they were coming from exploding hypernovas. How the Universe Works s1e5: Supernovas, Discovery 2010
They are the brightest thing in the known universe. ibid.
If a Gamma Ray Burst had obliterated life in the past it could happen again in the future. How the Universe Works s3e6: Weapons of Mass Extinction, Discovery 2014
Gamma radiation is the most dangerous type of radiation known. It’s also the tell-tale sign of an atomic weapon. Stephen Hawking’s Universe: Into the Universe, PBS 1997
There’s a well-respected theory that they are produced by a special kind of supernova called a gamma-ray burst. What’s more there might be one quite nearby. ibid.
Gamma Rays are the most powerful form of light known in the universe. The Universe s2e9: Supernovas, History 2008
Supernovas and the gamma ray bursts associated with them are the brightest beacons in the universe. ibid.
The biggest explosion in the known universe: a Gamma Ray Burst. The Universe s4e1: Death Stars, History 2009
Out there in the depths of space lurks something so deadly it destroys everything in its path. Explosions of inconceivable power are tearing through the universe hundreds of times a day. For years science has been on a quest to find out what was causing these explosions, and now at last they may have found the answer. Horizon: The Death Star, BBC 2001
Gamma rays: the most deadly form of energy in the universe ... The tell-tale signal was not from any nuclear bomb; it was from something far, far bigger. Something of incomprehensible size. And the signals just kept on coming. Something out there was causing huge explosions, blasting out deadly gamma rays. ibid.
Neutron stars are amongst the most powerful objects in our galaxy. They are so dense that they have a gravitational pull of such strength that if anything strays too close it is dragged on to the star with extreme force. Neutron stars seem to contain enough energy to produce these gamma ray bursts ... What was actually triggering them? ibid.
If the bursts were coming from beyond our galaxy, then they had to be caused by something far bigger than science could explain. ibid.
This light was so far towards the red end of the spectrum that the bursts could only have come from further away than anyone ever imagined. So the gamma ray bursts were coming from the other side of the universe ten billion light years away. No star could be big enough to produce that amount of energy. ibid.
[Martin] Rees realised scientists had always made one assumption when calculating the size of the bursts. Explosions normally spray out energy in all directions. So scientists assumed that what we saw on Earth was just a tiny fraction of the overall energy produced by the explosion. There lay the problem. ibid.
But Rees’s theory did something else: it gave scientists the first clue to what might actually be causing these mysterious explosions. It had to be something to do with stars dying and the black holes they then create. ibid.
It was these star nurseries that seem to be producing these gamma-ray bursts. ibid.
Woosley worked out that if a star was to grow to an enormous size – what he called a massive star – then the whole cycle of life and death would be accelerated. A massive star would burn up all its fuel so quickly that it lived a fraction of a star’s normal life. It means these massive stars would die while still very young ... It was given the name hypernova. ibid.
Every time we see a gamma-ray burst we are witnessing the death cry of a massive star and the birth of a black hole. ibid.
A burst of gamma waves – and this is what you experience as a moment of insight. Horizon – The Creative Brain: How Insight Works, BBC 2013
If they really were omitting energy over the whole sky, not just directed towards us, [that] would involve so much energy that they would violate Einstein’s E=MC². If it were the case that the gamma-ray bursts’ energy is coming out not in all directions around the explosion but is channelled in a particular narrow beam or jet then it means that the total amount of power coming from the single objects is less than it would be if it had to radio the whole sky. Professor Martin Rees