Researchers have analyzed an explosion in space that happened earlier this year and found it to be the brightest burst of gamma ray radiation ever recorded.
Researchers have analyzed a space explosion seen earlier this year and found it to be the brightest burst of gamma ray radiation ever recorded.
The death of a massive star caused the explosion, which was observed from space by NASA’s Swift and Fermi telescopes.
Experts think the star was 20 to 30 times more massive than the sun and that it took four billion years after the explosion happened for the light to be visible on Earth.
A dying star goes through a process that creates cosmic events like a black hole and a supernova.
Professor Paul O'Brien, an astronomer from the University of Leicester said: “The prediction is that there would be one gamma-ray burst close to the Earth to do us harm every 500 million years. At some point in the Earth's history we probably were irradiated by a gamma-ray burst, and it will happen again at some point in the future.”
Previous gamma ray bursts have not posed a threat to Earth as our atmosphere absorbs any radioactive energy, but if a star exploded within a thousand light years of us, it could potentially damage the ozone layer.