This image of a dusty, gas-rich nebula looks pretty, but appearances can be deceiving. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star system, it’s poised to unleash a catastrophic gamma-ray burst when it finally goes supernova. What’s remarkable about this particular Wolf-Rayet system, however, is that it’s the first to be discovered in our own galaxy. Cue the ominous music...
Tagged With gamma ray bursts
Astronomy has entered a new era, one where light and gravity both play a role in understanding the Universe's craziest phenomena. On August 17, 2017, over 70 observatories around (and above) the world, including ones like LIGO and the Hubble Space Telescope, all spotted a flash of energy. This light came in many different flavours, and was consistent with a pair of dense neutron stars colliding in a cataclysmic "kilonova" explosion.
A flash of visible light recently appeared in the sky that, depending on your location, could have been visible with binoculars. It wasn't a plane or a star: it was a gamma ray burst, one of the most violent kinds of explosions in the universe, from a source 9 billion light years away, possibly a black hole. And you're afraid of explosions here on Earth? That's cute.
Microscopic tardigrades, also known as "water bears", are the toughest animals on the planet, capable of withstanding intense radiation, extreme temperatures, and even the vacuum of space. In a fascinating new study, researchers have shown that tardigrades are poised to survive literally anything that nature throws at them -- and that of the animals alive today, they will be the last ones standing before the Sun annihilates the Earth billions of years from now.