Gamma-ray burst. Artwork showing a possible mechanism for gamma-ray bursts, extremely powerful bursts of gamma radiation that flare and then disappear in a matter of seconds. The small body seen at centre represents a neutron star or a black hole - end product of the supernova explosion which marks the death of a massive star. In the explosion a tremendous amount of energy is channelled into two narrow beams. According to this theory, the gamma-ray burst is seen only when one of the two beams points towards the Earth. Other models for gamma-ray bursts involve the collision between two neutron stars or two black holes.
Science Photo Library was founded in 1981 by Michael Marten, one of the authors of "Worlds Within Worlds", a book exploring different ways to observe the universe - from electron micrographs, to images of earthrise taken from the Apollo spacecraft. When Marten started receiving requests for the beautiful images in the book, he had an idea of setting up Science Photo Library.
Since then, Science Photo Library has continued to work alongside world acclaimed photographers and the leading science and medical experts to provide a central source of the best science and specialist imagery available. Although the collection started with scientific images, it has grown to encompass all aspects of science and their impact on everyday life.
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