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NASA's Swift Observatory  (Source: NASA)
Gamma burst reported as most powerful on record.

NASA scientists have identified a violent cosmic eruption that temporarily blinded a NASA satellite in June.  An X-ray telescope that tracks gamma rays on board the NASA Swift satellite captured a record-breaking burst of rays that had left scientists mystified about its massive brightness and point of origin.  

At it's peak the gamma-ray explosion – documented as the most powerful emission on record -- produced between 143,000 and 145,000 X-ray protons per second, which is about 10 to 15 times brighter than previous bursts captured by the telescope.   

After weeks of analysis, researchers are now indicating that the astounding blast was produced by a massive star collapsing into a black hole.  

According to 
Astronomy.com and Space.com, although the Swift satellite was designed specifically to study gamma-ray bursts, the instrument was not designed to handle an X-ray blast this bright.

"The intensity of these X-rays was unexpected and unprecedented," said Neil Gehrels from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He said the burst, named GRB 100621A, is the brightest X-ray source that Swift has detected since the observatory began X-ray observation in early 2005. "Just when we were beginning to think that we had seen everything that gamma-ray bursts could throw at us, this burst came along to challenge our assumptions about how powerful their X-ray emissions can be.”

The event was so powerful, it disrupted the telescope's data-analysis capabilities.

"The burst was so bright when it first erupted that our data-analysis software shut down," said Phil Evans from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. "So many photons were bombarding the detector each second that it just couldn't count them quickly enough. It was like trying to use a rain gauge and a bucket to measure the flow rate of a tsunami."

The X-rays had been traveling for over 5 billion years before being detected by the Swift satellite.

The burst lasted for about one minute and was about 200 times brighter than the Crab Nebula, an X-ray radiation benchmark for astronomers. 

The X-ray blast is the brightest ever detected from outside of the Milky Way galaxy. 



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RE: Didn't we just...
By PCR on 7/19/2010 10:41:48 AM , Rating: 2
Paper thin assumption? Seriously? What leads you to conclude that its a paper this assumption?

Light travels at 300,000 m/s, so its pretty easy to figure out how long light would take to get from one point to another, that's just basic physics.

What qualifies to make these conclusions? I have seen a lot of your posts but I have never responded but in this case I just had to respond. Mind sharing your educational background with us? TBH I could care less what some lay people have to say, yes I am biased against uneducated and dumb people, especially when it comes to the sciences.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Alexstarfire on 7/19/2010 10:50:41 AM , Rating: 1
I suggest you check your spelling and grammar then.


RE: Didn't we just...
By PCR on 7/19/2010 10:51:26 AM , Rating: 1
That has nothing to do with education or knowledge of science Yeah my typing sucks, so what? That means nothing and has nothing to do with science.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Alexstarfire on 7/19/2010 10:58:29 AM , Rating: 2
It was more in response to your last sentence talking about how you are biased against uneducated and dumb people. It was a bit hard to understand what you were saying at certain points because of some obvious errors in your post.


RE: Didn't we just...
By DamonZ on 7/19/2010 12:11:31 PM , Rating: 3
And I go back to the statements made merely questioning the assumptions. The person asked for polite responses, and was just making the comment that it has been proven light can be slowed, how do we know it isn't happening at the edge of our galaxy, or anywhere else along the way?

I don't believe in creationism, and will probably never be convinced otherwise, but a lot of things don't have good answers.

Try to treat the comment as intended, as a discussion. Don't be a jerk if you don't agree, try to prove to us you are worth talking to.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/19/2010 12:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for helping me try to clarify my question, I appreciate it.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Alexstarfire on 7/19/2010 4:33:26 PM , Rating: 1
Heaven forbid I make a comment. I found it ironic, that was all. Lighten up.


RE: Didn't we just...
By niva on 7/19/2010 4:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
It does make you look uneducated and dumb though when you can't string a proper sentence together while complaining about those very things. You should know by now that arguing against creationism if foolish. Just lay down your evidence and the ones with working brains will convert. The ones who vocally argue are hopeless and you're simply coming down to their level when you engage back in an argument.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Sazar on 7/19/2010 5:40:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but I just had to interject.

If you are going to say some things make someone look uneducated and dumb, you might want to check what you have posted before doing so. :)

Other than that, agree with you

"You should know by now that arguing against creationism if foolish"


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/19/2010 8:12:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You should know by now that arguing against creationism if foolish. Just lay down your evidence and the ones with working brains will convert. The ones who vocally argue are hopeless and you're simply coming down to their level when you engage back in an argument.

I offer my up-most sincere apology to the omnipotent and unfaltering niva; I did not realize that I was speaking to the most hyper intelligent being on this planet. Your opinion is clearly superior to our feeble minded species, and I hope you can forgive us for intruding upon your greatness.


RE: Didn't we just...
By IGoodwin on 7/19/2010 10:57:19 AM , Rating: 4
Don't know about anyone else, but I always have trouble with the speed of light, especially a maximum, mainly because time is not fixed.

How 'fast' light travels in intergalactic space may not be constant relative to our time stream. Mass and time have a curious relationship.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/19/2010 12:34:32 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
How 'fast' light travels in intergalactic space may not be constant relative to our time stream.

Exactly. The next galaxy could be literally located 3 feet away from ours, and there would be know way of "truly knowing" ... unless someone has invented interstellar travel without me knowing.


RE: Didn't we just...
By maven81 on 7/19/2010 2:28:46 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, but if we had invented interstellar travel and could actually go there, then you would just argue that all we really proved was that this particular object was 5 billion light years away. And you would insist that this doesn't prove our methods are correct, because how do we know every other object is like this one? We would have to visit every single one of them for you to be happy.

What you are doing is taking a very nihilistic approach towards science. There's a big difference between healthy skepticism and a belief that nothing can be proven. Taken to an extreme, how do I know that you actually exist and are not just a figment of my imagination?

Scientists don't operate on blind faith as you seem to imply. The theory has to fit the available evidence, and if that's no longer the case it will be replaced with a newer theory. Just as Newtonian physics was expanded upon by Einstein, and I'm sure that one day Einstein's physics will be expanded upon by someone else.
It wouldn't surprise me if some of Einstein's assumptions turned out to be wrong, but that doesn't mean that it puts everything we know about the universe in doubt.

By the way in case you were curious how you actually measure distances to such far away objects in the first place I suggest reading up on redshift, the Doppler effect, and the Hubble constant.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/19/2010 4:24:00 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Ah, but if we had invented interstellar travel and could actually go there, then you would just argue that all we really proved was that this particular object was 5 billion light years away. And you would insist that this doesn't prove our methods are correct, because how do we know every other object is like this one? We would have to visit every single one of them for you to be happy.

You can not be serious ... Have you read a single word of what I have already posted here? Did you truthfully follow what I said in a recent article? If you had, you would not be so quick to post that naive and ill conceived preconception of me.
quote:
There's a big difference between healthy skepticism and a belief that nothing can be proven. Taken to an extreme, how do I know that you actually exist and are not just a figment of my imagination?

Quote me (in context) of exactly where I gave any kind of indication that I think this way. Until then, you are just making idiotic assumptions of me.
quote:
By the way in case you were curious how you actually measure distances to such far away objects in the first place I suggest reading up on redshift, the Doppler effect, and the Hubble constant.

Yet again someone else who assumes that posing questions mean that I don't actually do my own research/understand the concepts.

You just plain out don't understand the simple logical questions that I asked. You immediately went on the defensive and ranted and raved. Please go back, and actually read the questions that I ask. They are very simple, and require no deep thought.


RE: Didn't we just...
By SPOOFE on 7/19/2010 4:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yet again someone else who assumes that posing questions mean that I don't actually do my own research/understand the concepts.

You asserted that another galaxy could be "literally 3 feet away". I'm sorry, that's just a very stupid thing to say. The appearance of objects has consistent effects at varying distances. Hell, this is apparent if you've ever watched a sports game.

Stop whining; your comments make it clear that you have no idea what you're talking about. It's nobody's fault but your own that you're ignorant.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: Didn't we just...
By SPOOFE on 7/19/2010 4:54:19 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The next galaxy could be literally located 3 feet away from ours

There are too many observations that are all consistent with each other for your assertion to be anything but really, really stupid.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/19/2010 11:01:40 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Light travels at 300,000 m/s, so its pretty easy to figure out how long light would take to get from one point to another, that's just basic physics.


Did you even read the question that I presented? I'll try again:

quote:
When introducing the experiments that slowed the speed of light down (significantly), I ask how you can truly be sure of the finding.


Your post comes across as more "firing off at the mouth", rather than actually adding something to the discussion. You also seem to insinuate that I am somehow stupid for asking questions about science. So, please tell me why it is wrong to question scientific method/experiment/reasoning.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Goty on 7/19/2010 11:24:33 AM , Rating: 2
The speed of the photons themselves, when free, is still the speed of light. It is just the interactions taking place in the experiment that make it appear to travel more slowly. Photons in these experiments are no more traveling slower than the speed of light than the photons in superluminal jets are traveling faster than the speed of light. It's all just illusion.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: Didn't we just...
By Goty on 7/19/2010 12:41:13 PM , Rating: 2
That's easy. We know we don't sit inside a large bubble because the things we observe in our own galaxy appear no different from the same processes that occur in other galaxies. We don't occupy a special place in the universe (physically, anyway), everything looks the same everywhere on a large enough scale.


RE: Didn't we just...
By nafhan on 7/19/2010 3:23:04 PM , Rating: 2
Coming up with unnecessarily complicated theories to explain things is not productive. With your beach ball example, it doesn't really matter that someone might be trying to trick you into seeing a beach ball. You go with the assumption that there's a beach ball on the island until you have a reason not to assume that. Generally, that's how science works. Start with the simple and try to understand it better until you find a problem.
Our galaxy could be in a giant bubble, our galaxy could be a giant simulation running in a giant computer, our galaxy could even be a mental construct in the mind of an all knowing being. However, that doesn't really matter. What we have observed doesn't support those things.


RE: Didn't we just...
By SPOOFE on 7/19/2010 5:03:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Who's to say that our galaxy is inside a giant bubble that causes matter to interact differently?

That's your "paper-thin assumption"? The assumption that physical interactions are consistent across the universe? You're just making up fantastical crap to justify doubts. Explain why we should believe the laws of physics are different locally compared to a billion light-years away.

quote:
It isn't hard to grasp the concept of things being different outside of the scope of our physical limitations.

A concept is one thing; using that baseless concept, with no observational reason to believe it's an accurate concept, to cast doubt on a subject with more internally consistent observations than you have hair follicles. If physics were different here as opposed to there, then those differences would be apparent... or they'd be so negligible as to be irrelevent. Either way, your statements are nonsense.

quote:
You can stand on an island and look through a pair of binoculars and see another island. You have no way of reaching this island. On the island you spot a beach ball. In reality, this is only a picture of a beach ball propped up in the sand.

Yeah, I get it. It's obvious. You have no idea what you're talking about.

If you see a "picture" - of anything - that picture obviously had to come from somewhere. Outside of a proposed mechanism, consistent with all other observations, for that picture to be generated, created, or falsified, the only logical conclusion is that the picture represents a fairly accurate view of circumstances.

You have doubts with no mechanism, no explanation for those doubts. You're stupid. You're ignorant. I'm almost sorry to be so blunt, but them's the facts. If you don't like it, you can stop being stupid.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/19/2010 7:06:29 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
If you see a "picture" - of anything - that picture obviously had to come from somewhere. Outside of a proposed mechanism, consistent with all other observations, for that picture to be generated, created, or falsified, the only logical conclusion is that the picture represents a fairly accurate view of circumstances.

Wow, you really are too dumb to see the point I was making lol. Go eat rocks...


RE: Didn't we just...
By Goty on 7/19/2010 11:22:47 AM , Rating: 3
*300,000,000 m/s or 300,000 km/s

Seriously, didn't you learn to check your units in physics class in high school?


RE: Didn't we just...
By wallijonn on 7/19/2010 11:57:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Light travels at 300,000 m/s, so its pretty easy to figure out how long light would take to get from one point to another, that's just basic physics.


Except when dealing with Black Holes (?).

quote:
the astounding blast was produced by a massive star collapsing into a black hole.


Wouldn't the Black Hole have slowed down the speed of light? In which case it could be longer than 5 billion years ago.


RE: Didn't we just...
By SPOOFE on 7/19/2010 5:06:23 PM , Rating: 1
A black hole does not slow down the speed of light; the intense gravity well slows down time itself.

Regardless, "speed of light", or C, refers to the speed of light in a vacuum. The fact that one can physically slow down a photon does not mean the cosmic speed limit of C has been slowed.


RE: Didn't we just...
By FaaR on 7/19/2010 6:56:22 PM , Rating: 2
From what I understand, black holes do not slow down light per se. Rather, space-time inside the event horizon curves too much for light to escape from within (and it curves infinitely inside the black hole itself; ie it has zero surface area despite having perhaps billions of solar masses).


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