Skip to comments.Star explodes halfway across universe (NASA's Swift detects star's GRB; reached Earth early Wed.)
Posted on 03/21/2008 4:07:07 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - The explosion of a star halfway across the universe was so huge it set a record for the most distant object that could be seen on Earth by the naked eye.
The aging star, in a previously unknown galaxy, exploded in a gamma ray burst 7.5 billion light years away, its light finally reaching Earth early Wednesday.
The gamma rays were detected by NASA's Swift satellite at 2:12 a.m. "We'd never seen one before so bright and at such a distance," NASA's Neil Gehrels said. It was bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.
However, NASA has no reports that any skywatchers spotted the burst, which lasted less than an hour. Telescopic measurements show that the burst which occurred when the universe was about half its current age was bright enough to be seen without a telescope.
"Someone would have had to run out and look at it with a naked eye, but didn't," said Gehrels, chief of NASA's astroparticles physics lab at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
The starburst would have appeared as bright as some of the stars in the handle of the Little Dipper constellation, said Penn State University astronomer David Burrows. How it looked wasn't remarkable, but the distance traveled was.
The 7.5 billion light years away far eclipses the previous naked eye record of 2.5 million light years. One light year is 5.9 trillion miles.
"This is roughly halfway to the edge of the universe," Burrows said.
Before it exploded, the star was about 40 times bigger than our sun. The explosion vaporized any planet nearby, Gehrels said.
NASA’s Swift satellite
The extremely luminous afterglow of GRB 080319B was imaged by
Swift's X-ray Telescope (left) and Optical/Ultraviolet Telescope (right).
This was by far the brightest gamma-ray burst afterglow ever seen.
Credit: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler, et al.
NASA Satellite Detects Naked-Eye Explosion Halfway Across Universe
Sounds like 3rd or 4th magnitude, which would have been washed out by city lights here.
A light year is 5,865,696,000,000 miles
Times 7,500,000,000 = Miles to event.
My calculator just died.
Imagine all he civilizations that have come and gone over the 15 billion year history of the universe.
Earth is 5 billion years old. Just imagine what all has happened during those 10 billions years that came before us.
Kinda humbles ya a little bit don’t it??
**The explosion vaporized any planet nearby, Gehrels said.**
Damn, I wait 7.5 billion years for this, and I’m in the can when it happens.
So that’s what I felt. :)
Bush’s fault, of course
Not to sound like a ditz, but does this mean that this happened 7.5 billion years ago and we are just able to see it now?
No wonder it’s taking Voyager so long to get home.
With the current lack of sunspots, we could use all the GRB we can get.
It was warm Wednesday. Here, anyway.
Sounds like a real monster. It probably destroyed whatever life was present in that galaxy, at least the ones in its “aim”.
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