Are you looking for a new vacation spot? Perhaps one with spectacular fireworks? While gamma-ray bursts produce brilliant displays of light across the entire spectrum, we cannot recommend visiting one.
Before making up your mind, watch this handy video to learn more about what gamma-ray bursts are, how to find them, and safety considerations for watching one.
Long gamma-ray bursts are ones that last more than two seconds. Most of them are thought to arise from a large star that exploded as a supernova when it ran out of fuel, as shown in this fun animation.
Luckily for life on Earth, our atmosphere blocks most cosmic gamma rays from reaching the surface. Most of them will interact with molecules high up in the atmosphere, causing a cascade of particles that travel through the atmosphere until they run out of energy.
Our Traveler would like to watch a star explode in the hopes of seeing a gamma-ray burst. However, predicting when a star will go supernova is really hard. Even if we know of a star that could explode “soon,” that could be a day, a week, a year, a million years, or more!
Gamma-ray bursts produce a pair of cones of superfast and superhot material. These jets are the source of the gamma rays, and we can only see them if we’re in the right place at the right time. Available for both desktops and smartphones.