Release 903 of 1,145

Mysterious Fireball From A Cataclysmic Explosion

Release date: Jun 10, 1997 11:00 AM (EDT)

The visible fireball from a titanic explosion in deep space, called a gamma-ray burst, blazes in the center of this image, taken with the Hubble telescope's imaging spectrograph.

The burst occurred on May 8, 1997, and Hubble observations to acquire the fading fireball were made on June 2. No accompanying object, such as a host galaxy, can be found near the burst. This result adds to the puzzlement over the source of these enigmatic explosions, because a previous Hubble picture of the visible glow from another gamma-ray burst identified a potential host galaxy.