By: Astroathens On: January 5, 2017 In: Astronomy Comments: 2
  • Gamma ray bursts and bursters
  • While trying to keep an eye on Russia in the 1960s during the Cold War, the US sends up space craft Vela to detect “nuke flashes” which in turn leads to the discovery of GAMMA RAY BURSTS!
  • The US thought the gamma ray bursts we’re signs that the Soviet Union had technologically advanced to the point of testing in outer space.
  • However, after the break up of the Soviet Union the pentagon released this information and sent the data to astronomy researchers to figure it out.
  • Gamma ray bursts are theorized to be the result of two neutron stars colliding.
  • The tango in which a binary star system (2 stars) has is just two simple integrating orbits.. until those orbits slowly decrease and the two hot stars get closer together.
  • They get close enough until they break orbit and collide with one another, resulting in a massive impact and release of energy (AKA a gamma ray burst).
  • In this case (neutron stars) it’s close to the entire life of the sun (that’s about 10 billion years worth of energy!
  • Followed by them dimming so quickly after the burst that it can no longer detect anything in that direction post burst. Most last between 1-10 seconds. But shortest was 0.01 second and longest several minutes.
  • TODAY as frequent as 3 gamma ray bursts are detected A DAY!!!
  • A gamma-ray burst known as GRB 090429B detected by NASA’s Swift satellite in 2009 has been found to be a candidate for the most distant object in the Universe at an estimated distance of 13.14 billion light years!!!!
  • That red dot in the center of the image below is the afterglow of the burst.

GRB 090429B



    • AK$cientist
    • January 06, 2017
    • Reply

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing. Question: The photo of GRB 090429B- why is it only the red dot in the center of the image that signifies the burst of the afterglow- what about the other red dots? Are those also considered afterglows, but maybe from a different gamma-ray burst?

    • Astroathens
    • January 13, 2017
    • Reply

    Hi AK$Cientist! Great question, the red colors are a result from the absence of visible light. All the red dots are areas where light may have been absorbed by hydrogen gas far out in our universe. There are many things that can cause such an occurrence, one is a gamma ray burst. We know the one in the center is a gamma ray burst because of other observations and data collected outside of this one image. However the other red dots can be caused by other phenomena in the cosmos like a dying star or post supernova. 🙂

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