Gamma-Ray Bursts explained

I have, from time to time, mentioned the potentially lethal, if spectacular, phenomenon known as a Gamma-Ray Burst in my occasional science posts.  By coincidence, the BBC have online digestible clips of past Horizon programmes.  Including this informative clip from 2001 explaining Gamma-Ray Bursts in stellar nurseries, with a suitably ominous narration.  Enjoy!  And, let’s be careful out there…

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  • Zig70

    Not so worried about black holes in distant galaxies and life 3000million light years away. More worried about that moon getting too close and pulling plates by 2metres and shifting the earth on it axis by 4inches. Do you think the moon’s influence in the recent earthquake is hype? I read it in the sun, nuff said.

  • Pete Baker


    It’s not a Gamma-ray burst (GRB) in distant galaxies that you would need to worry about.

    It’s one within the Milky Way.

    Not that worrying about it would do much good…

  • Zig70

    Are there stellar nurseries in the milky way? I’ll take my chances in the blip that is my existance.

  • Pete Baker


    “Are there stellar nurseries in the milky way?”

    Indeed there are.

    Our star, Sol, lies in the Orion arm of the galaxy.

    But GRBs don’t necessarily require a stellar nursery. Nor massive stars.

  • andnowwhat

    Actually, I’m more worried about what sort of eejits build nuclear power plants on known fault lines?

  • Pete Baker

    And I wouldn’t be worried about that either, andhowwhat.

  • Greenflag

    ‘zig ,

    ‘More worried about that moon getting too close’

    It’s actually moving further away which in itself could be a cause for concern especially if those ‘plates ‘ stop moving . We probably owe our (life’s ) existence to the fact of moving plates . No moving plates and the Earth would at most probably be a habitat for bacteria . No moon and the Earth would probably be to ‘unstable ‘ and life might not have evolved or evolved to an hominoid free zone .

    ‘I’m more worried about what sort of eejits build nuclear power plants on known fault lines ‘

    I’m more worried about the eejits who don’t build nuclear power plants where there are no fault zones .

    All of Japan is in a fault zone the so called ring of fire . Some 30% of Japan’s energy comes from nuclear power stations and they have 54 of which 3 have been damaged which has thus affected perhaps 3% of the country’s power needs .
    . These stations survived the ‘earthquake’ but their systems were not prepared for the ensuing tsunami.

    The Japanese will because of their ‘energy ‘ readiness be taking to the ‘donkey ‘ as the major means of transport long after the Irish who are almost ruinously dependent on the price of oil for our energy production needs . And while I’m as much of a fan of alternative energy sources to nuclear power in the short term 10 to 20 years hence as an economy Ireland is wide open for ‘exploitation ‘ by the oil producers .


  • Greenflag

    addendum ,

    And we seem to be planning our ‘energy ‘ future with the about the same amount of determination and intent and seriousness with which we tackled the eh other ‘meltdown ‘ of banking and mortgage deregulation and the ensuing banking and financial services free for all chaos 🙁

  • Zig70

    thanks for the links Pete.

    Don’t know how to do links

    Bleedin sensible scientists. The Sun is more fun(never buy it honest). Bets on for a big earthquake on the 19th.

  • Pete Baker


    This isn’t an ‘open thread’.

    Try to keep to the actual topic.

    Or just, you know, don’t comment.