A gamma-ray burst is a flash of high-energy light (gamma rays) from an extremely energetic explosion. Associate Professor of Astronomy Edo Berger, Harvard graduate student Wen-fai Fong and Ryan Chornock recently observed data from a gamma-ray burst GRB 130603B which, at a distance of 3.9 billion light-years from Earth, is one of the nearest bursts seen to date.
This burst was the result of the collision of two dense neutron stars. There is growing consensus that metals such as gold are created in these collisions. Berger presented data at a press conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics on July 17 in support of the theory that all gold in the universe was created in similar collisions.
For more information, the original press release, press conference and various commentaries on the presented data are listed here:
- CFA Press Release
- Smithsonian Magazine Article
- USA Today
- TIME Magazine
- Associated Press