View Full Version : Gamma Ray Flare Reaches Across the Galaxy

2005-Sep-09, 08:24 AM
SUMMARY: A massive gamma ray flare flashed so brightly in December that it briefly outshone the full Moon. Even though it occurred 50,000 light-years away, the flare demonstrated the power of these events, disrupting the Earth's ionosphere. The flare occurred on the surface of a rapidly spinning, highly magnetic neutron star called a magnetar, which can release tremendous amounts of energy through a process called magnetic reconnection. We're lucky the flare occurred so far away; if it had happened within 10 light-years, it could have destroyed the Earth's ozone layer.

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