Gamma Ray Bursts are unpredictable and brief flashes of gamma rays that occur about once a day in random locations in the sky. Since gamma rays do not penetrate the Earth's atmosphere, they are detected by satellites, which automatically trigger ground-based telescopes for follow-up observations at longer wavelengths. In this introduction to Gamma Ray Bursts we review how building a multi-wavelength picture of these events has revealed that they are the most energetic explosions since the Big Bang and are connected with stellar deaths in other galaxies. However, in spite of exceptional observational and theoretical progress in the last 15 years, recent observations raise many questions which challenge our understanding of these elusive phenomena. Gamma Ray Bursts therefore remain one of the hottest topics in modern astrophysics.
- Pub Date:
- July 2012
- gamma ray bursts;
- stellar mergers;
- host galaxies;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 20 pages, 11 figures, review article, draft version, final version will appear in Contemporary Physics