gamma-ray burst

variants: or less commonly gamma ray burst

Definition of gamma-ray burst

: a brief, powerful jet of gamma rays detected deep in space that is generated by the collapse and explosion of a celestial object Eventually, though, the neutron star slows down, probably because of magnetic braking. Then it implodes, touching off a gamma ray burst.— Govert Schilling abbreviation GRB

Examples of gamma-ray burst in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The event, a gamma-ray burst, was triggered by the merger of two neutron stars, forming a single mass of neutrons that was large enough to collapse into a black hole shortly afterwards. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Neutron-star merger blasted a jet of material through the debris," 5 Sep. 2018 The new results suggest that neutron-star mergers are important sources of short-duration gamma-ray bursts, study team members said. Mike Wall,, "Faster Than Light? Neutron-Star Merger Shot Out a Jet with Seemingly Impossible Speed," 5 Sep. 2018 Most of his previous projects involved measuring X-rays or gamma rays from various snaps, crackles and pops in the cosmos, most recently the High Energy Transient Explorer, used to study the cataclysms known as gamma-ray bursts. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Meet TESS, Seeker of Alien Worlds," 26 Mar. 2018 If confirmed, the findings would offer the first solid clue as to what caused Earth's first mass extinction—hypothesized to be the result of everything from toxic metals unleashed in the oceans to radiation from a distant gamma-ray burst. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Volcanoes May Have Triggered the Last Unexplained Mass Extinction," 1 Aug. 2017 The discovery confirms that gamma-ray bursts can result from the collision of neutron stars, as well as that heavy elements are created as a result of violent collisions between stars. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "First-seen neutron star collision creates light, gravitational waves and gold," 16 Oct. 2017 Space telescopes observed a short gamma-ray burst, a powerful beam of radiation, coming from about the same part of the sky about two seconds later. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "The Slack Chat That Changed Astronomy," 17 Oct. 2017 Astronomers found a fireball from a gamma-ray burst in 2013, but there was no proof that neutron stars were involved. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "LIGO Detects Fierce Collision of Neutron Stars for the First Time," 16 Oct. 2017 The collision was simultaneously detected with the Fermi space telescope, confirming that neutron star mergers produce a phenomenon known as a short gamma-ray burst. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Neutron stars collide, solve major astronomical mysteries," 16 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gamma-ray burst.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gamma-ray burst

1973, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gamma-ray burst

Share gamma-ray burst

Statistics for gamma-ray burst

Last Updated

16 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gamma-ray burst

The first known use of gamma-ray burst was in 1973

See more words from the same year

Comments on gamma-ray burst

What made you want to look up gamma-ray burst? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!