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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 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.


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