Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
4 minute read
5 Feb 2021
1:10 pm

Bad cell reception? Blame a gamma-ray burst

Nica Richards

Researchers have discovered two explosions from a gamma-ray bust that took place more than 11 million light-years from Earth last year.

Earth is blasted with gamma-ray bursts on most days. Not all of these are significant but they can produce the most powerful explosions in the universe. Picture: iStock

Before 15 April 2020, scientists were still struggling to explain the nature of short gamma-ray bursts (GRB), having only known about their longer, two-second sidekicks.  But on this day, scientists' ability to explain other GRBs was upped tenfold. Before then, all that was known about these cosmic phenomenons was that they were traced to supernovas, or two neutron stars, spiralling into each other.  This may not seem relevant to anyone other than scientists enthralled with the stars, but gamma-ray bursts have more of an effect on Earth than some can fathom.   They can disrupt cellphone reception, but for...