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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 Quadrillity on 7/19/2010 7:31:24 PM , Rating: 0
quote:
That's something we can actually observe and measure.

Purely false. There is not one single piece of existing technology that allows us to measure anything outside of our physical reach (that you can claim to be accurate). Do you measure to cut boards with a pair of binoculars? No, we physically measure it, and can justify it as being accurate. You can see other galaxies/stars/planets/etc sure, but we can not say "fact" anything. All observations are purely speculative and the opinion of whoever is looking. Are you trying to say that opinion is directly translated to fact? No. I'm sorry if you want to be a sheep and believe word for word what everyone tells you. I'm at least smart enough to say, "yeah they might be right, and they probably used the most logical methods to come to those conclusions, but I am not going to blindly believe things like that for hard facts.

I have no other way of stating that some of you don't understand my original questions.

quote:
You know I actually once thought as you do, when I was a young teen and still figuring things out ... it's pretty safe to say that they are right and you're wrong.


You are open to scientific questioning and opinions as long as it agrees with yours right? You are a dogmatic bigot.


RE: Didn't we just...
By thejerk on 7/19/2010 11:24:37 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is you're making a relativistic set of illogical arguments under the guise of Philosophy and pseudo-intellectual posturing. While discourse is a fun way to explore Existentialism, this has become foolish.

Your stated purpose and discourse only have merit if you were actively pursuing your answers in a practical, scientific manner. The conditions for the slowing of light only exists in specific laboratory conditions, and has a remote chance of existing (the following qualifier is important), universally, at the "edge of our galaxy." I agree with the others in that you know nothing of the Science you write about. I will also add that you know nothing about Philosophy, either. There is no point, not even for the sake of discourse, to continue.

If anything, your continued arguments make you appear an attention-hungry sociopath.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/20/2010 8:59:28 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The problem is you're making a relativistic set of illogical arguments under the guise of Philosophy and pseudo-intellectual posturing. While discourse is a fun way to explore Existentialism, this has become foolish.

Who do you think you are talking to?! Using complex words in a sentence doesn't give it more meaning or actually add to this discussion. Those two sentences made you look like you are trying way too hard.
quote:
Your stated purpose and discourse only have merit if you were actively pursuing your answers in a practical, scientific manner.

So, what you are saying is it's wrong to post a simple, logical question in science? I don't know how you define science, but I can ask a simple question to my hearts desire. I don't have to launch satellites into orbit every time I want to know a simple answer to a simple question. Just because you can't understand the question doesn't mean you should bash me. In effect, you make yourself look like an idiot when running off at the mouth and trying to "prove" your intellect.

Look, it's someone on the internet with an agenda to make someone look stupid rather than add to the discussion, wow; never seen that one before! Your name is very fitting.
quote:
The conditions for the slowing of light only exists in specific laboratory conditions

There is absolutely no way you can know that AT ALL; You have no idea what can happen outside of our realm, and you are arrogant and foolish to say otherwise. Unless you literally know it all. Then by all means, please enlighten us.

Btw, I seriously doubt you talk like this in every day life. So stop trying so hard, it makes you look very desperate; And if you aren't going to contribute respectfully to the discussions, then please butt out. There is no room for your complete arrogant ass-hat attitude.


RE: Didn't we just...
By maven81 on 7/20/2010 10:02:55 AM , Rating: 3
"Purely false. There is not one single piece of existing technology that allows us to measure anything outside of our physical reach (that you can claim to be accurate)."

I'm sorry but that's bullcrap. If you're talking technology we got extremely accurate measurements of the distance to the moon before anything landed there thanks to radar, and even laser ranging. (of course we got even better measurements after putting a retroreflector there). In fact radar has been used on asteroids that we have not physically reached at all. But you don't need sophisticated technology. The planet Neptune was discovered MATHEMATICALLY. In the 19th century! Just by some very clever mathematicians observing the gravitational effect it had on the orbits of other planets like Uranus. They noticed a disturbance, did some calculations, and deduced that there had to be an object we haven't discovered yet. Then telescopes were pointed at the predicted spot, and it was right there! This was proof that our understanding of gravity and orbital mechanics was correct. There's no better example then a prediction leading to a discovery. Just as in the world of chemistry Mendeleev left blank spaces on the periodic table for elements that had not been discovered yet, because he accurately deduced that they must exist and just haven't been seen.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/20/2010 10:29:31 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I'm sorry but that's bullcrap. If you're talking technology we got extremely accurate measurements of the distance to the moon before anything landed there thanks to radar, and even laser ranging.

Re-read the part where I mentioned "physical reach". Your comprehension skills are poor.

The rest of your post points out sound science; Science that is well within reason to assume that they are accurate, especially since they are within our solar system (our physical reach). I forget how far our space probes (gigitty) have gone as of today, but it is still within our reach obviously. Have all of our predictions about distance to these planets come to be true? Yeah, sure but you can't automatically assume that these methods work for something OUTSIDE OF OUR REALM OF OBSERVATION!! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY THIS? Could they be right? Sure, and they probably are about a good amount of things. Does anyone "know"? No; and claiming so makes them/you lust after power and meaningless knowledge. You completely misunderstand my original post, and I honestly can not think of a different way to say it.

You are making it out to look like I am denying all scientific discovery and processing, and that's just simply wrong to characterize me as such. You plain out just do not understand the original question/s logic concepts. Quit accusing me like you know me, because you don't.


RE: Didn't we just...
By maven81 on 7/20/2010 11:02:54 AM , Rating: 2
"Re-read the part where I mentioned "physical reach". Your comprehension skills are poor."

Now you're just spinning. These things are within our physical reach TODAY, but as I mentioned we got our measurements BEFORE we were able to reach them, and in some cases we proved the existence of something that we didn't even know was there! Two hundred years before it became within our physical reach, get it?! We proved the existence of something that we could not see, touch, smell you name it.
For the rest of your post, I don't understand where you get this crazy idea that scientists claim to know everything for certain. That's not at all how science works! It operates under the assumption that this is the best available explanation TODAY. That's it. The only one claiming that scientists know something to be the only explanation is YOU.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/20/2010 11:17:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
These things are within our physical reach TODAY, but as I mentioned we got our measurements BEFORE we were able to reach them

Wow, now I've reached the point of arguing with an idiot because I clearly JUST SAID that exact same thing in my previous post. Either you didn't read it, or (as I said earlier) your reading comprehension skills are poor.

quote:
I don't understand where you get this crazy idea that scientists claim to know everything for certain. That's not at all how science works!

Keep reading my original posts, maybe you will get it one day.

*walks away in disgust


RE: Didn't we just...
By maven81 on 7/20/2010 12:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
That's funny, weren't you the one that moaned about people calling you names and saying you wanted a civilized discussion? Seems to me like you're the idiot if you can't even express what you're trying to say.
Time and time again presented with multiple explanations of why your existential psychobabble was either implausible or silly, you still persist. That's the definition of stupidity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/20/2010 12:31:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Seems to me like you're the idiot if you can't even express what you're trying to say.

I expressed what I was trying to convey just fine (and got immediately persecuted). It's funny how some people got it, some didn't. It's all opinion anyway, so no-one is better than the other. What I get angry at is how you just right to negative comments about me just because you don't understand my points.

Agreeing to disagree would be a good option here.


RE: Didn't we just...
By maven81 on 7/20/2010 2:22:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'm afraid it is you who don't get it. Let me spell it out for you.

1)No one claims to know exactly .

2)There's a difference between being able to measure something, and being able to comprehend it. You will find that while we can observe and measure many phenomena we don't claim to understand exactly how they work.

3)Even if the things we see are not exactly what they appear to be, that does not affect our reality! For instance if we lived in a 9 dimensional universe and the sun was actually nothing more then a shadow of some other incomprehensible object, it still wouldn't change the fact that in our dimension it's a star, with specific properties we can learn. It's like an ant drowning in an olympic size pool... the ant will never know if the pool is a pool, a river, or an ocean. The word ocean will not have any meaning to him. But that will not change the fact that water is wet, that gravity makes pulls him down etc.
Let me repeat that, we can do amazing science without fully comprehending everything, and by putting the knowledge we gain in doubt you give a great disservice to every scientist.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/20/2010 3:39:21 PM , Rating: 2
You are taking a simple concept and blowing it to a 9 dimensional universe proportion? Again you are playing your on twist on to my posts. Even more evident that you - don't - get - my - point.

I asked if we could just agree to disagree about the subject, so I'm just going to assume that you are acting like a complete tool by now.


RE: Didn't we just...
By maven81 on 7/20/2010 3:45:59 PM , Rating: 2
It just pains you to admit that you don't have a clue what you're talking about doesn't it! Calling me a tool won't change that.


RE: Didn't we just...
By bh192012 on 7/20/2010 11:50:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Purely false. There is not one single piece of existing technology that allows us to measure anything outside of our physical reach (that you can claim to be accurate). Do you measure to cut boards with a pair of binoculars? No, we physically measure it, and can justify it as being accurate. You can see other galaxies/stars/planets/etc sure, but we can not say "fact" anything. All observations are purely speculative and the opinion of whoever is looking.


Why do you think laying a strip of tape on something is more accurate than using lasers/optics and time/math? You can ponder some great illusion just beyond our reach if you want but you're going to have a much more difficult time with an illusion within arms reach. Any reality distorion field that close will also screw up your tape measure and render logic pointless.

At this point we can all go home and give up on logic, or we can admit things like "optics, lasers and math" are more accurate than a tape measure. Our brains use something called parallax to measure distance, so we don't walk into walls etc. We can use the same technique to measure things in space out to a thousand or more light years.
Great, now we've established a large collection of stars distance in our galaxy with accuracy. Using other techniques we also know the size, spectral type, metalicity and other facts about these stars. Facts that you have to accept as true, unless you go around flinching and disbelieving that the tree in front of you is actually far away. These facts are not paper thin at all. They are thick and tougher than steel.

We can now use these stars as benchmarks. Some of these stars act in a very specific way, Type 1a supernova for instance reach a very specific size, brightness etc. as determined by math. Now we can use those facts to determine distance. Is it exact, perfect accuracy down to the mm? No, but we can calculate the margin of error and it isn't terrible. The margin of error does get bigger as we try to measure things that are farther away, but it tends to be reasonable, otherwise it gets shot down by other skeptical scientists before it gets published.

(ps. I would love to see a sniper measure distance with a tape measure.)


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/20/2010 12:49:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
At this point we can all go home and give up on logic, or we can admit things like "optics, lasers and math" are more accurate than a tape measure.

If you think that this was anything close to the point I was making the you were looking way too far into my post. I guess you: 1. made an assumption that I was an uneducated boob. and 2. that I acutally think we would use tape measures as the most accurate method.
quote:
now we've established a large collection of stars distance in our galaxy with accuracy.

LOL! Thanks for proving my point! What did we compare our math to in order to produce an "accurate" result? HAHA you just don't get it do you?

It's like me standing away from a suspended object; I calculated the area of said object using [insert several reasonable methods]. Make a note that the object is line of sight only and we have no way of physically reaching it. We also have no way of knowing what's on the other side of this object. It could actually be cone shaped for all we know.

And for those of you too gullible to understand this next concept: The best images we have ever seen for objects within distance galaxies have been about the same size as this dot(and smaller!). What most people see is rendered images of what "we think" these look like in detail.

http://www.le.ac.uk/ph/faulkes/web/galaxies/r_ga_s...

This is what we really see. And if you find anything "fact based" conclusive from that then you are surely arrogant to say so.


RE: Didn't we just...
By maven81 on 7/20/2010 2:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
"It's like me standing away from a suspended object; I calculated the area of said object using [insert several reasonable methods]. Make a note that the object is line of sight only and we have no way of physically reaching it. We also have no way of knowing what's on the other side of this object. It could actually be cone shaped for all we know."

You are VASTLY downplaying our knowledge. (And even the power of deductive reasoning). A cone would have a different volume then say a sphere. The different volume would have a different mass. The different mass would have a different gravity which would be something we could theoretically detect even if it was half way across the known universe.
You again stubbornly refuse to accept that we HAVE solved problems like this one. We've determined that some asteroids are rubble piles while others are solid rock without ever stepping foot on one. How is that possible in your world?

"And for those of you too gullible to understand this next concept: The best images we have ever seen for objects within distance galaxies have been about the same size as this dot(and smaller!). What most people see is rendered images of what "we think" these look like in detail."

You don't know what the hell you're talking about. For example the nearest galaxy, Andromeda appears to take up 3 degrees of our sky. For reference, the full moon is about half a degree. That means Andromeda looks 6x wider then the full moon! (it's just a very dim object, so unless you have a dark sky it's pretty hard to make it out).
We can see individual stars in galaxies tens of millions of lightyears away. Granted galaxies billions of lightyears away look like a faint smudge but they still take up more then 1 pixel.
Now if you get into radio astronomy and set up arrays of telescopes all acting as one dish we have indeed resolved features of galaxies billions of lightyears away.


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/20/2010 3:27:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now if you get into radio astronomy and set up arrays of telescopes all acting as one dish we have indeed resolved features of galaxies billions of lightyears away.

And yet they are still a few pixels in size. My point exactly.


RE: Didn't we just...
By maven81 on 7/20/2010 3:41:48 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong!

Here's a radio image of Quasar 3C273 which is 2.4 billion light years away.
http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2000/0131/0131_ra...
Now tell me that's several pixels! You can now try to spin that by several you mean 100... but you specifically said "the size of this dot".


RE: Didn't we just...
By Quadrillity on 7/20/2010 4:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, now point out to me in that blurry little picture a water based planet. LoL, you can't. That's supposed to be an entire galaxy in an image half the size of a piece of notebook paper. You have got to be kidding me haha.

The reason I ask is because how many times have you read an article that says, "Water based planet discovered 6 billion ly away that may support life"... in a supposed reputable science based media.

I'm going to keep replying just because you can't agree to disagree, and it seems to make you angry.


RE: Didn't we just...
By maven81 on 7/20/2010 6:06:37 PM , Rating: 2
"Ok, now point out to me in that blurry little picture a water based planet. LoL, you can't. That's supposed to be an entire galaxy in an image half the size of a piece of notebook paper. You have got to be kidding me haha.

The reason I ask is because how many times have you read an article that says, "Water based planet discovered 6 billion ly away that may support life"... in a supposed reputable science based media."


Uh, that would be never. Of the over 400 extrasolar planets discovered so far not a single one is outside of this galaxy. Hell, they aren't even outside our local neighborhood. I think the furthest ones are around 25,000 lightyears away. THOUSAND.
Second, none of them have been described as water based. And finally I think only a handful are in an orbit that may be suitable for life temperature wise. (not boiling hot or frozen over). So you better post some links about this discovery because that would be a big deal!

"I'm going to keep replying just because you can't agree to disagree, and it seems to make you angry."

Or I just enjoy pointing out how silly your assertions are, and injecting real astronomy into daily tech since we get to talk about it pretty rarely.


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