The Link Between Supernovae and Gamma Ray Bursts

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Science  27 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5726, pp. 1265-1266
DOI: 10.1126/science.1112928

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Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are believed to be the most energetic explosions in the universe since the Big Bang. In his Perspective, Schmidt discusses recent studies that provide evidence for a connection between supernovae and some GRBs. He highlights the report by Mazzali et al. , who show that supernova 2003jd appears to be highly asymmetric, similar to an object blown apart by the jets that produce GRBs. This supernovae may thus be a GRB, with its jets pointed away from Earth when it exploded. The results resolve some of the questions regarding the supernova-GRB connection, but it remains unclear how a single mechanism can produce supernovae and the much more powerful GRBs in the distant universe.