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Gamma Ray Bursts

Gamma-Ray Bursts are very short and very strong flashes of energy. We donít know what causes them but they come from every direction in space and we see about one every day.

We have seen about 1400 Gamma-Ray Bursts so far, and almost all of them are seen only once. The bursts are so short that it is very difficult to work out exactly where they came from. When a Gamma-Ray Burst is seen, telescopes are quickly moved to look at the area to try and find something that may have caused it.

Gamma-Ray Bursts have such high energies that they must be caused by something very violent. They may be made when a star collapses, or when two stars hit each other, but astronomers think it is more likely that they are caused when a star hits a black hole.

Click on the links below to find out more about the Universe.

Introduction to the Universe

Early Ideas about the Universe

What the Universe is made of

How the Universe changes

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Authors: Carolyn Brinkworth and Claire Thomas

Last updated: July 2001