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Gamma-Ray Burst Afterglow Anniversary

BeppoSAX observations of GRB970228. On the left is the original X-ray observation of the burst February 28th. On the right is the same region of the sky, in the constellation of Orion, March 3rd showing the burst object has dimmed.

On Feb 28, 1997, the Italian-Dutch satellite BeppoSax detected the first afterglow of a gamma-ray burst. From its precise determination of the position of the X-ray counterpart, optical observers were able to determine that the burst had occured in a distant galaxy. The puzzle as to where GRBs occur had finally been solved.

This became the first of many such detections, and opened the field of GRBs to a new array of theories and explanations. Much remains a mystery, but discovery on that day led to a new understanding of the most powerful explosions in the Universe. We offer a second look at some on GRBs:

GRBs in the News

Publication Date: February 2007