The Gamma-Ray Burst Next DoorI hesitate to spawn a thousand bad sci-fi flicks, but here it goes: Scientists now say that some gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful explosions in the universe, originate in nearby galaxy clusters. If one were to occur nearby, it could wipe out life on Earth. Fortunately, the chances of mass extinction are slimmer than the Chicago Cubs meeting the Boston Red Sox in the World Series (. . . and the Red Sox winning). But a new analysis of over 1400 archived gamma-ray bursts reveals that about 100 bursts originated within 325 million light-years of Earth, and not billions of light-years away as previously thought. If so, there's no reason why a burst couldn't go off in our galaxy.
Wanjek, Christopher (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
August 21, 2013
January 1, 2003
Publication: Space Science Reference Guide, 2nd Edition