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News Release Archive:

News Release 701 of 951

September 16, 1997 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1997-30

Hubble Stays on Trail of Fading Gamma-Ray Burst Fireball, Results Point to Extragalactic Origin

September 16, 1997: Hubble telescope observations of the ever-fading fireball from one of the universe's most mysterious phenomena ? a gamma-ray burst ? is reinforcing the emerging view that these titanic explosions happen far away in other galaxies and are among the most spectacularly energetic events in the universe.

In this Hubble image of the gamma-ray burst's visible-light component, the fireball has faded to 1/500th its brightness since its discovery in March 1997 by ground-based telescopes. Hubble continues to clearly see the fireball [center of picture] and a cloud of material surrounding it, which is considered to be its host galaxy.

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Credit: Andrew Fruchter (STScI), Elena Pian (ITSRE-CNR), and NASA