ESA's Integral detects closest cosmic gamma-ray burst
6 August 2004gamma-ray burst detected by ESA's Integral gamma-ray observatory on 3 December 2003 has been thoroughly studied for months by an armada of space and ground-based observatories. Astronomers have now concluded that this event, called GRB 031203, is the closest cosmic gamma-ray burst on record, but also the faintest. This also suggests that an entire population of sub-energetic gamma-ray bursts has so far gone unnoticed.
Cosmic gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are flashes of gamma rays that can last from less than a second to a few minutes and occur at random positions in the sky. A large fraction of them is thought to result when a black hole is created from a dying star in a distant galaxy. Astronomers believe that a hot disc surrounding the black hole, made of gas and matter falling onto it, somehow emits an energetic beam parallel to the axis of rotation.
For the full release visit the ESA Science Media Centre