Print 94 comment(s) - last by Josett.. on Jul 20 at 11:19 PM

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 and, 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. 

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Didn't we just...
By Josett on 7/19/2010 7:20:53 PM , Rating: 1
I'll just negate your statements in bold , so, perhaps, you can answer your own questions.

I thought it was concluded in that particular discussion that people are not ultimately going to believe what they want to believe; Since evidence is not subjective and all...

I could argue that the methods used to extrapolate this conclusion of "we see something 5 billion light years away" is not heavily reliant on many paper thin assumptions. So in a sense, if you believe the assumptions to be true /false , then you will not conclude that the 5 billion light years away to be true /false

When introducing the experiments that slowed the speed of light down (significantly), I ask how you can not truly be sure of the finding. I'm NOT just posing a question. (Before you take a jab at me, I understand that there are other methods of gathering data; I am just curious to see how those too are not subjective and not assuming).


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/20/2010 9:11:47 AM , Rating: 2
How does this add to the discussion at all? lol

RE: Didn't we just...
By Josett on 7/20/2010 11:19:25 PM , Rating: 2
Yep. I had a hunch it'd be an useless point.

Well... Cheers anyway!

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
Related Articles

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki