News FocusHIGH-ENERGY ASTROPHYSICS

Gamma Ray Bursts May Pack a One-Two Punch

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Science  03 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5493, pp. 926-927
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5493.926

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Summary

Most astrophysicists puzzling over what causes gamma ray bursts--short, intense explosions of high-energy photons that occur deep in space--now agree that the answer is a hypernova, the blast of energy released when a supermassive star collapses into a black hole. Two papers in this issue of Science (pp. 953 and 955), reporting on new x-ray observations of two gamma ray bursts, argue that the hypernova model tells only half of the story. On its way to becoming a black hole, the authors propose, the supermassive star actually collapses twice.

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