Friday, November 22, 2013

Gamma ray burst smashes record for biggest cosmic blast!

via CBC News
http://www.cbc.ca

April explosion had five times more energy than previous record-setter
Astronomers call it the monster. It was the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed. Had it been closer, Earth would have been toast.
Because the blast was 3.7 billion light-years away, mankind was spared. But orbiting telescopes got the fireworks show of a lifetime in April.
The only bigger display astronomers know of was the Big Bang that created the universe, and no one was around to see that.
What happened was a gamma ray burst, which happens when a massive star dies, collapses into a brand-new black hole, explodes in what's called a supernova and ejects energetic radiation. The radiation is as bright as can be as it travels across the universe at the speed of light.
NASA telescopes in orbit have been seeing these types of bursts for more than two decades, spotting one every couple of days. But this one was special. It set records, according to four studies published Thursday in the journal Science.
It flooded NASA instruments with five times the energy as its nearest competitor, a blast in 1999, said University of Alabama at Huntsville astrophysicist Rob Preece, author of one of the studies.
continue reading http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/gamma-ray-burst-smashes-record-for-biggest-cosmic-blast-1.2435512

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