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Oddly bright burst may mean space is more transparent than we thought

A gamma ray burst seen last year was so powerful that cosmologists might have to update their models of the universe

By Alex Wilkins

24 October 2023

GRB221009A surrounded by dust rings, pictured by the XMM-Newton X-ray space observatory

ESA/XMM-Newton/M. Rigoselli (INAF)

The unexpectedly powerful light from the brightest space explosion ever seen may mean that space is more transparent than we thought.

Last year, astronomers witnessed a flash of gamma rays that was brighter than anything they had previously measured. By comparing it with other gamma ray bursts, researchers estimated that such a bright event would happen only once every 10,000 years.

This flash, called GRB221009A, was made of up of photons, or light particles, some of which had …

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