In the 1960s Cold War paranoia led to the discovery of the most violent explosions in the Universe, which once again goes to show you the military accomplishes more good than academics think it does - at least those humanities people, anyway.
At the height of the Cold War the U.S. was concerned about the possibility of covert Soviet nuclear tests so they sent up a series of satellites to look for tell-tale flashes of radiation. These satellites began seeing something strange; flashes, but they were signals of astronomical origin. After decades of debate, it was shown that these were caused by the explosion of the most massive stars.
Since then, satellites like the AGILE satellite, an Italian space observatory capable of surveying large chunks of the sky at once, has also been detecting signals from the Earth.
Things that go bang from below by at Niall http://weareallinthegutter.wordpress.com/
H/T Bora Zivkovic
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