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Gamma Ray Bursts

May 7, 2013

I think we can all agree that space is the bees knees. I wanted to make a post about a recent lucky sighting by NASA, who happened to record the biggest and longest gamma ray burst (GRB) ever observed. What does this mean? It means a gigantic star blew up and will probably have a black hole in its place.

I ❤ dead stars

The telescopes that detected it were specifically looking for gamma rays, which are indicative of a star blowing up in a massively dramatic death. As the star runs out of fuel it becomes unstable, until eventually it collapses due to its own gravity and BLAMMY out goes tons and tons of material hurtling off into space at crazy high speeds. When this occurs, the highest energy form of light is released, known as a gamma ray. These gamma rays are electromagnetic radiation that will burn the ever loving crap out of you and all your DNA.

Thanks Wiki, it all makes sense now.

So now that this star has blown up, there is a high likelihood of finding a supernova in its place in a few days. This will look like a super bright star that just kind of shows up in the sky one night and outshines all the other stars around it. A supernova is the optical part of the star exploding – the other gamma ray stuff is invisible to the eye so we had to detect with special sensors. This particular explosion is pretty cool because it was much closer to Earth than we normally observe such events, so that means scientists can study all sorts of neat stuff that happened. They can measure the gamma rays, the neutrinos that were released, the supernova that hopefully shows up soon, and even look for a possible black hole or beautiful nebula made of dust and debri from the explosion.

Space litter is so pretty

So here’s hoping this star won’t be shy and will give us a big ol’ supernova to oogle and then make us a pretty nebula in the shape of a duck or something so the nerds over at NASA won’t have to think too hard about what to name it.


From → SPACE

One Comment
  1. Wendy permalink

    Space litter really is pretty 🙂

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