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<Most distant gamma-ray burst spotted ⁄ >




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Two teams have spied a huge blast from the far reaches of our early Universe. Such &#947;-ray bursts occur when certain massive stars violently explode. The latest burst happened a mere 630 million years after the Big Bang (that's 13.1 billion years ago) and is the youngest such blast to have been spotted - the previous record-beater happened 825 million years after the Big Bang.

NASA's space-based Swift telescope spotted the burst, named GRB 090423, on 23 April this year. "Gamma-ray bursts are rather rare," says Nial Tanvir of the University of Leicester, UK, who led one of the efforts to characterize the burst. The Swift telescope spots around 100 a year. "It's hard work to pin them down," he says



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