Why Gamma Ray Bursts Are the Most Epic of All Apocalyptic Scenarios


Kurzgesagt (In a Nutshell) takes on GRBs. Video: Kurzgesagt (In a Nutshell)/YouTube
Asteroid impacts. Nuclear war. Unhinged climate change. These are all respectable, solid entries into the great pantheon of doomsday scenarios that could wipe out life on Earth.

By Becky Ferreira | MOTHERBOARD

But when it comes to sheer destructive flair, gamma ray bursts (GRBs) take the apocalyptic cake. Forged in catastrophic cosmic disruptions like supernovae and neutron star mergers, GRBs are the brightest phenomena in the universe. Capable of releasing more energy in a single second than the Sun will in its entire lifetime of ten billion years, these bursts are essentially the universe’s unique riff on projectile barfing.

The mind-boggling force and fascinating observational history of GRBs is explored in this newly released short from Kurzgesagt (In a Nutshell), a channel famed for its lighthearted animated primers on complex topics. The video’s narrator does not shy away from the epic, face-melting powers of these events, referring to them alternately as “cosmic snipers,” “celestial laser guns,” and “the biggest superweapon in the universe.”

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