Gamma ray burst. Computer artwork of a gamma ray burst. These are extremely high-energy events which flare up at random places throughout the universe. The burst, a flash of radiation shown with two jets here, may be as bright as the rest of the universe combined for a few seconds. They are thought to be extremely distant, up to 12 billion light years away. It is thought that they may be the result of a neutron star being torn apart by a black hole. The conditions within the burst itself, a volume only 100 miles across , are thought to be similar to those that were present about one millisecond (one thousandth of a second) after the Big Bang.
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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