On April 13, 2010, NASA's Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer satellite discovered its 500th burst. Swift's main job is to quickly localize each gamma-ray burst (GRB), report its position so that others can immediately conduct follow-up observations, and then study the burst using its X-ray and Ultraviolet/Optical telescopes. The plots and videos below illustrate Swift's first 500 GRBs.
For more on the story, see the feature "NASA's Swift Catches 500th Gamma-ray Burst"
This all-sky map shows the locations of Swift's 500 gamma-ray bursts, color coded by the year in which they occurred. In the background, an infrared image shows the location of our galaxy and its largest satellites.
The plane of our galaxy, the Milky Way, runs horizontally through the middle of the map. Each color represents the local density of stars seen in each of the survey's three infrared bands. Nearly 100 million stars appear in the image.