April’s record-breaking gamma-ray burst was a Type Ic supernova

In April this year, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected GRB 130427A, a record-breaking gamma-ray burst (see before-and-during GIF animation below). This astronomical event also generated a burst of publications. In particular, the event appears to have been associated with a Type Ic supernova, according to a recent paper.

A type Ic supernova is the enormous explosion resulting from the core-collapse of a massive star that has run out of fuel (by taking stellar fusion all the way to iron, which is as far as it can go). Unlike other supernovae, type Ic supernovae lack signs of hydrogen or helium in their spectrum, and are therefore thought to involve massive stars that have lost their outer layers. This particular massive star certainly went out with a bang!

For a side-by-side view instead of an animation, see here.