Gamma-ray bursts are not only incredible to study, but their discovery has an epic story all its own. Today Phil takes you through some Cold War history and then dives into what we know. Bursts come in two rough varieties: Long and short. Long ones are from hypernovae, massive stars exploding, sending out twin beams of matter and energy. Short ones are from merging neutron stars. Both kinds are so energetic they are visible for billions of light years, and both are also the birth announcements of black holes.

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Table of Contents
Gamma-Ray Were Discovered During the Cold War 0:47
Bursts Come in Two Varieties: Long and Short 8:35
Long Bursts Are From Hypernovae, Massive Stars Exploding 6:46
Short Ones Are From Merging Neutron Stars 9:00
Both Are The Birthplace of Black holes 9:55

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PHOTOS/VIDEOS
Nuclear Bomb Images via Wikimedia Commons:
Operation Upshot Knothole https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Operation_Upshot-Knothole_-_Badger_001.jpg
Ivy Mike https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IvyMike2.jpg
Castle Bravo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Bravo#/media/File:Castle_Bravo_Blast.jpg
Upshot Knothole GRABLE https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Upshot-Knothole_GRABLE.jpg
President Kennedy signs the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial_Nuclear_Test_Ban_Treaty#/media/File:President_Kennedy_signs_Nuclear_Test_Ban_Treaty,_07_October_1963.jpg [credit: Wikimedia Commons]
Vela http://www.losangeles.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/2013/06/130605-F-IN001-011.jpg [credit: USAF]
The Crab Nebula https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1604.html [credit: NASA, ESA, J. Hester, A. Loll (ASU)]
Solar Flare http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/News041612-M1.7flare.html [credit: NASA/SDO/AIA]
Gamma Ray Burst http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=20139 [credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab]
Four ALMA antennas on the Chajnantor plain http://www.eso.org/public/images/alma-jfs-2010-10/ [credit: ESO/José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org)]
Gamma Ray Burst 970228 https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/opo9730b/ [credit: Andrew Fruchter (STScI), Elena Pian (ITSRE-CNR), and NASA/ESA]
HST/STIS Image of the optical afterglow of w:GRB 970508 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GRB_970508#/media/File:StisI.gif [credit: STScI/NASA]
Black Holes: Monsters in Space http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/nustar/multimedia/pia16695.html [credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]
Naked-Eye Gamma-ray Burst Model for GRB 080319B http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=10369 [credit: NASA/Swift/Cruz deWilde]
2008 GRB http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/218810main_grb_20080320_HI.jpg [credit: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler, et al.]
GRB Data http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/134782main_GRB_data_compare_black_sm.jpg [credit: NASA]
Imagine two massive stars born together as a binary star http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2005/j0806/wd_lg.mpg [credit: NASA/GSFC/D. Berry]
Colliding Binary Neutron stars http://chandra.harvard.edu/resources/animations/neutronstars.html?page=4 [credit: NASA/D.Berry]
Black Hole Devours a Neutron Star http://chandra.harvard.edu/resources/animations/neutronstars.html?page=5 [credit: NASA/D.Berry]
Eta Carinae https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eta_Carinae#/media/File:Eta_Carinae.jpg [credit: Jon Morse (University of Colorado) & NASA Hubble Space Telescope]
WR 104: A Pinwheel Star System http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140603.html [credit: P. Tuthill (U. Sydney) & J. Monnier (U. Michigan), Keck Obs., ARC, NSF]
Swift HD Beauty Shot http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=10867 [credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center]
Swift's 500 Gamma-ray Bursts http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=10590 [credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center]