scientists have identified a violent cosmic eruption that temporarily
blinded a NASA satellite in June. An X-ray telescope
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.
quote: 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.
quote: Who's to say that our galaxy is inside a giant bubble that causes matter to interact differently?
quote: It isn't hard to grasp the concept of things being different outside of the scope of our physical limitations.
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.
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.