Multiwavelength Astronomy Multimedia

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Artist’s visualization of a merging binary system


Gamma-ray bursts are common, yet random, and fleeting events that have mystified astronomers since their discovery in the late 1960s. Shorter bursts (less than two seconds in duration) are thought to be caused by mergers of binary systems with black holes or neutron stars.


  • Binary Star System
  • Gamma Ray Burst
  • Star
  • Compact Object


NASA/Dana Berry, Skyworks Digital



Associated Lesson

Gamma Ray Impact

This material is based upon work supported by NASA under Grant Nos. NNX09AD33G and NNX10AE80G issued through the SMD ROSES 2009 Program.

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