Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


A twist in the tale of γ-ray bursts

An unusually long burst of γ-rays zapped Earth in December 2011, lasting 4 hours. The cause of this burst is now proposed to be a peculiar supernova produced by a spinning magnetic neutron star. See Letter p.189

Your institute does not have access to this article

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Energetics and duration of γ-ray bursts.


  1. See all news & views


  1. Klebesadel, R. W., Strong, I. B. & Olson R. A. Astrophys. J. 182, L85 (1973).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Greiner, J. et al. Nature 523, 189–192 (2015).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Quimby, R. M. et al. Nature 474, 487–489 (2011).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Aasi, J. et al. Astrophys. J. Suppl. Ser. 211, 7 (2014).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Levan, A. J. et al. Astrophys. J. 781, 13 (2014).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Burrows, D. N. et al. Nature 476, 421–424 (2011).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Gendre, B. et al. Astrophys. J. 766, 30 (2013).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Stratta, G. et al. Astrophys. J. 779, 66 (2013).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Inserra, C. et al. Astrophys. J. 770, 128 (2013).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Kasen, D. & Bildsten, L. Astrophys. J. 717, 245 (2010).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Woosley, S. E. Astrophys. J. 719, L204 (2010).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Nicholl, M. et al. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 444, 2096–2113 (2014).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Lunnan, R. et al. Astrophys. J. 787, 138 (2014).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Chen, T.-W. et al. Astrophys. J. 763, L28 (2013).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephen J. Smartt.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Smartt, S. A twist in the tale of γ-ray bursts. Nature 523, 164–166 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing