A pair of astrophysicists studying gamma ray bursts has found that such events might play a much larger role in the existence of life on Earth and other planets than has been thought. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, Tsvi Piran with the Hebrew University in Israel and Raul Jimenez from the University of Barcelona in Spain, suggest that gamma ray bursts might be responsible for past extinctions on Earth, and for limiting the possibility of life on planets near the center of galaxies.
A gamma ray burst (GRB) is a massive wave of radiation that comes about very quickly due either from a star that is dying or when two neutron stars collide. When the wave strikes another planet it can cause major disruptions.
GRBs come in two varieties, long and short burst. The longer variety are much more common but until recently scientists didn’t believe they could occur in our part of the universe at all because it was thought they only occurred in low low-metallicity galaxies. More recently it has been found that though more rare, they do also occur in high-metallicity galaxies like ours.
Read more at: Phys.org