Unusually short but intense “fireballs” in the distant universe might be created by the plucking of invisible cosmic strings—ultradense flaws in space-time—a new study suggests. Some gamma-ray bursts stay visible for several seconds to a few minutes. Scientists think these long-duration bursts are created when the cores of very massive stars collapse and explode. Other bursts are much more brief—sometimes lasting just fractions of a second—and it’s unclear what triggers them.
A Wrinkle in Time?