Illustration of a Short Gamma-Ray Burst Caused by a Collapsing Star. This illustration depicts a collapsing star that is producing two short gamma-ray jets. Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/J. da Silva. Image processing: M. Zamani (NSF's NOIRLab)
Astronomers using the Event Horizon Telescope (of which two Maunakea observatories are a part) have zoomed into Astronomers have discovered the shortest-ever gamma-ray burst (GRB) caused by the implosion of a massive star. Using the Gemini North telescope on Maunakea, astronomers identified the cause of this 0.6-second flurry of gamma rays as a supernova explosion in a distant galaxy. GRBs caused by supernovae usually last more than twice as long as this one, which suggests that some short GRBs are actually imposters — supernova-produced GRBs in disguise. The international Gemini Observatory is a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab.