NewsGamma-Ray Bursts

Long Afterglows Reveal the Secrets of Distant Fireballs

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Science  26 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5334, pp. 1925
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5334.1925

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HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA-- The mysterious cosmic blasts that were the focus of the Fourth Huntsville Gamma-Ray Burst Symposium held here last week are followed by "afterglows" in progressively longer, less energetic wavelengths: x-rays, visible light, and radio waves. In the last few months, clues ranging from the rate at which the afterglows fade to the "twinkling" of the radio signal have supported the idea that GRBs emerge from shocks within gigantic fireballs billions of light-years from Earth.