Death from space

An international team of astronomers has detected the most powerful kind of cosmic explosion called gamma-ray bursts, also known as 'death from space', and are related to the explosion of massive stars 50 times the size of our sun, and can release as much energy in a matter of seconds as our sun would emit over its entire lifetime.

Scientists believe the explosions happen when a dying star collapses to become a black hole, releasing a blast of particle jets outward as a beam, whose intensity is only surpassed by that of the Big Bang itself.

The intense flashes are believed to occur all the time — thankfully in galaxies billions of light years away from Earth, but are very difficult to observe as they are usually over in seconds. This incredibly bright burst, however, was aimed directly at Earth, enabling our telescopes to pick it up and respond in real time.

To find out more check out Gamma-ray Burst Captured in Unprecedented Detail.