Gamma Ray Bursts

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Science  29 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5330, pp. 1257-1258
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5330.1257

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Gamma ray bursts are enigmatic events first observed in 1967 by satellites used to monitor nuclear weapons tests. Debate has raged over whether these events are taking place in our galaxy, or at much greater distances. As Kouveliotou describes in her Perspective, recent evidence from several satellites is converging on the view that gamma ray bursts occur at cosmological distances well outside the Milky Way. Current activity centers on looking for correlated emissions in x-ray, optical, and radio wavelengths following the detection of a gamma ray burst. As more data are collected, astrophysicists hope to be able to explain the source of these mysterious explosions.