Short-Lived Mysteries

Science  30 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5548, pp. 1817
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5548.1817b

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Although most astrophysicists agree that "long" gamma ray bursts, those lasting more than about a second, stem from the catastrophic collapse of rapidly rotating massive stars (see main text), the origin of short bursts remains in doubt. Depending on which theorist you ask, they may result either from a special kind of stellar collapse, or from the merger of two compact neutron stars or of a neutron star and a black hole.