An artist’s impression of the merger of two neutron stars. Short duration gamma-ray bursts are thought to be caused by the merger of some combination of white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes. Theory suggests that they are short lived as there is little dust and gas to fuel an ‘afterglow’. (Credit: NASA / Dana Berry)
Did An 8th Century Gamma Ray Burst Irradiate Earth? -- Science Daily
Jan. 21, 2013 — A nearby short duration gamma-ray burst may be the cause of an intense blast of high-energy radiation that hit the Earth in the 8th century, according to new research led by astronomers Valeri Hambaryan and Ralph Neuhӓuser.
The two scientists, based at the Astrophysics Institute of the University of Jena in Germany, publish their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
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My Comment: I could only imagine what would be the reaction if such an event happened today.