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Swift Special Exhibit

Gamma-Ray Bursts

Scientists use Swift to shed light on these luminous explosions by identifying the host galaxies of the GRBs, their redshift (a tracer of distance), and their locations in their host galaxies. Swift confirmed that there are several types of GRBs with separate causes (collapsing massive stars and possibly neutron star mergers), and scientists work on categorizing them and their causes. Also, Swift allows us to gather information about the blast waves of the bursts and how this wave of energy and particles interacts with the intergalactic medium.

1,000 Swift GRBs

This illustration shows the positions of 1,000 Swift GRBs on an all-sky map. Bursts are color coded by year Background: An infrared view from the Two Micron All-Sky Survey. (Image credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and 2MASS/J. Carpenter, T. H. Jarrett, and R. Hurt)

Published: September 2005
Text Reviewed: September 2018