|by Greg Klein|
It happened some 3.9 billion light years away, lasted less than one-fifth of a second and created gold worth about $10 octillion. Even more significant to those following these events, the June 3 gamma ray burst might have provided key evidence to support a theory about the cosmic origins of gold and other metals. That is the message announced July 17 by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. They suggest that the gamma-ray burst supports a 20-year-old theory that gold results from collisions of neutron stars, not from supernovae. Although the collisions happen only about once every 10,000 to 100,000 years, they could account for all the gold in the universe.