Gamma Ray Burst 050509b may have come from the collision of two massive neutron starts in a mature elliptical galaxy.
To the surprise of the astronomers, the brief burst came from the outskirts of an old elliptical galaxy.We live in a reasonably mature elliptical galaxy. These are the galaxies that, based on a data point of one, can support technological civilization(s). This burst of gamma rays might represent the demise of whatever might have been in that galaxy.
"This was remarkable," said Professor Bloom, "it seems to be coming from a fairly old galaxy, a galaxy with no new stars being formed."
"We have never seen a Gamma Ray Burst coming from an old galaxy like this before."
Astronomers divide Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) into two types. The long duration type seems to come from the collapse of young massive stars into black holes.
The short duration type - like GRB 050509b - appears to come from the collision of two neutron stars (which also result in black holes) or a neutron star and a black hole.