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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 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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