Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous explosions in the cosmos. These explosive events last several seconds and during that time they emit the same amount of gamma-rays as all the stars in the universe combined. Such extreme amounts of energy can only be released during catastrophic events like the death of a very massive star, or the merging of two compact stars, and are accompanied by an afterglow of light over a broad range of wavelengths (or equivalently energies), that fades with time.
Using the Southern African Large Telescope, UCT Astronomy's Prof Tom Jarrett and colleagues recently determined the very fast rotation speeds of 'super spirals', large massive spiral galaxies. Read all about this exciting research in the SAAO press release, or the article on Universe Today. This research was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Prof Jarrett is the NRF SARChI Chair in Astrophysics and Space Science.