Prof. Tsvi Piran, working with a group of other researchers, decoded the mechanism for gamma-ray bursts following an eruption observed last January. Now, in a paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, he describes how a stream of particles moving toward us at close to light speed emits the gamma radiation.
"MAGIC has found the Rosetta stone of gamma-ray bursts," says Prof. Piran. "This unique detection enables us for the first time to discriminate between different emission models and discover what are the exact conditions in the explosion. We can also understand now why such radiation wasn't observed in the past." Future Cherenkov telescopes such as the planned Cherenkov Telescope Array, a multinational project under construction, will be much more sensitive than MAGIC. The current detection suggests that many other such events will be detected in the future and will continue to shed light on this cosmic mystery.