If a short gamma ray burst was responsible for the 775 CE event, then it must have been around 3,000 – 12,000 light-years away. Any closer, and it would probably have caused the extinction of some life on Earth. If the hypothesis turns out to be true, then the culprit is still at large. Astronomers could attempt to identify any suspects by looking for a black hole, aged about 1,200 years, within 120,000 light-years from Earth.
ANALYSIS: Will Earth ‘Be Wiped Out' by a Supernova?
While events like these are exceptionally rare, Dr Neunhäuser notes that if such a blast of gamma rays were to hit Earth today, "even thousands of light years away, a similar event today could cause havoc with the sensitive electronic systems that advanced societies have come to depend on."
While we only know of one such event having occurred in recorded history, we have no idea how frequent they may truly be. However, other unexplained events have been recorded elsewhere, in Antarctic ice for example. For now though, we can rest assured that gamma ray bursts are rare in our galaxy, so it's unlikely that we might be affected by one anytime soon.