Extra-Long Blasts Challenge Our Theories of Cosmic Cataclysms

On December 11, 2021, a beam of gamma rays — the most energetic form of light — slammed into NASA’s Swift satellite. Within 120 seconds, the satellite had swiveled toward the blast and spotted the glowing embers of a cosmic catastrophe. Ten minutes later, alerts went out to astronomers around the world. Among them was Jillian Rastinejad, a graduate student at Northwestern University.


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