More and more Hulks are showing up in the MCU and now everyone on Earth may get their own gamma-radiation superpowers. According to a news release from NASA, the largest gamma-ray burst ever detected hit Earth on October 9, 2022. Astronomers are calling it the B.O.A.T., or biggest of all time, but officially it’s GRB 221009A. Scientists are still studying the burst, but think it is the result of a star going supernova to form a new black hole. At two billion light years away, it is the closest such event ever detected. But it doesn’t pose a threat to life on Earth. Still, if you notice any new tendency to turn green or Hulk out, you may want to have that checked.
A really massive gamma-ray burst could burn off Earth’s atmosphere and kill us all, but obviously that didn’t happen in this case. Scientists believe that it has occurred at least once before in Earth’s history. And it could happen again, but the burst would have to originate within thousands of light years of Earth. We first saw news of the gamma-ray burst on Salon.
Previously recorded bursts have usually only lasted a few seconds. Even then, they’re capable of putting off as much energy as our Sun will in its entire 10-billion-year lifetime. How that compares to the dose Bruce Banner got in that gamma radiation lab accident has yet to be calculated. It’s probably not what the astronomers all over the world are spending time on right now. Though, in the MCU at least, it’s also possible to end up with Hulk powers via exposure to Banner’s blood. Just ask the Abomination or She-Hulk.
Multiple telescopes on Earth and in orbit picked up the sensational gamma-ray burst just as a conference of gamma-ray experts kicked off in South Africa. It started the meeting with a bang, to say the least.
Originally published October 19, 2022.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.