What do we know about the locations and directions of potential Gamma ray bursts that may intersect with Earth in the future, or are we mostly blind to when such an event directed our way may occur & cause a mass extinction event?

In other words, are we able to predict to any degree at all when one might occur close enough that there may be some potential impact to life or life on Earth or infrastructure?

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    $\begingroup$ Yeah I'm more interested in the former actually, ways to forecast & predict these events. $\endgroup$
    – kmindspark
    Jan 19, 2021 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ @kmindspark Welcome to Astronomy SE! I've made an edit to your question to narrow the scope to events explicitly in the future and close enough to Earth that there is potential for some significant impact. You can ask as many questions as you like; maybe a separate question for prediction of future gamma ray bursts anywhere observable can also be asked; they may have different answers. Does this look okay? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 19, 2021 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ No grb's have caused likely extinctions in the last 650 million years, only a few daring researchers have published climate events linked to supernovae or non asteroid events, so grb extinctions arent really a thing in science, as none are known. It would have to be an unstable body within 5 to 50 ly away. $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2021 at 4:14
  • $\begingroup$ @aliential Recently, Fields, Melott, et al proposed a supernova trigger for the Late Devonian extinction ~360 Mya. Of course, with a supernova close enough to cause mass extinction, you don't just get a GRB, you also get lots of energetic particles. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Jan 20, 2021 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ @pm2ring, I think that there are less than three studies of that standard? scholar.google.com/… 360 million years also co-incides with the 30 million year cycle of the solar system travelling through the crowded central disk of the galactic plane. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2021 at 2:01

1 Answer 1


Although not being an expert on the field, I found a multitude of studies dealing with events which may be used as indicator that a GBR is about to happen somewhere. Research on GBR precusor events range from smaller gamma ray precursors, over gravitiational waves, to thermal signatures, and neutrinos:


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