Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/25/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Massive gamma ray burst is the brightest ever recorded.

Gamma ray bursts are very bright and very scary, and astronomers recently observed one of the brightest and closest gamma ray bursts ever last April, according to new research.

A gamma ray burst may have killed much of the life on Earth 450 million years ago. Such events are frightening to those who know about them, fortunately the risk is low.

A gamma ray burst may have killed much of the life on Earth 450 million years ago. Such events are frightening to those who know about them, fortunately the risk is low.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/25/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Gamma Ray Burst, stars, formation, black holes, brightest, brightest gamma ray burst ever, danger, scary


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On April 27, light which took about 3.6 billion years to reach Earth finally arrived and was detected by orbiting space telescopes. The light was part of a gamma ray burst and this one is thought to be the brightest yet observed.

Gamma ray bursts are the most energetic events in the universe. They are also the brightest, although we do not see them on Earth because the atmosphere absorbs the rays. Yet from space, satellites can clearly see them as bright flashes that last for a fraction of a second to a few minutes.

They are also dangerous. It is theorized that if a gamma ray burst occurred close to Earth, it could bathe the planet in lethal radiation that could deplete our ozone layer and kill much of the life on the surface. Even scarier, gamma ray bursts cannot be predicted, so the first warning we would get, which would be about a flash of brilliant blue light lasting several seconds, would be too late.

The bursts are so energetic, they emit in seconds what the Sun would output in 10 billion years.

Fortunately, gamma ray bursts need special conditions for their creation. Specifically they are formed in the massive supernova explosions of rapidly rotating stars, which results in the formation of black holes, some of the universe's most enigmatic objects.

There does appear to be a couple stars near Earth which could cause such a calamity. Luckily for us, the most powerful bursts of gamma rays are along the poles of such stars and black holes, and the odds of Earth being in the path of such a polar jet are slim.

The burst observed on April 27, was the result of a massive star in another galaxy going supernova, which means the core of the star collapsed inwards on itself and its outer layers exploded into space. Astronomers observed the supernova in real-time as the light arrived from it.

Part of the reason why the explosion was so bright was because the burst occurred just a quarter of the way to the edge of the universe. Most of the bursts we observe are much more distant, virtually at the edge of the universe.

Since it was so close, it appeared much brighter than usual. That also allowed astronomers to make a more detailed observation of the event. Curiously, they found the data does not match existing models for gamma ray bursts. In other words, what they should have observed was different from what they actually saw. The differences were fairly technical, for example astronomers observed relativistic shock waves, meaning waves traveling at virtually the speed of light. They detected more photons and more gamma rays than the models predicted they should have seen.

It is possible that the proximity of the burst is partly responsible for the mismatch between the observations and model. It is also possible that the model is inaccurate in some way. Future data may help to refine the models so they work correctly. The best thing about science is that it is self-correcting.

For now, scientists continue to watch for more gamma ray bursts. The bursts occur on average about one per day, and nearly all are at the edge of the universe. In our own galaxy, one probably occurs once about every 100,000 to 1 million years. Few, if any, have ever been pointed at Earth, although it is theorized that mysterious mass extinctions in prehistoric times may have been caused by one or more such bursts. This remains highly speculative.

The April 27 burst remains an enigma for the astronomers researching it. It will take more such bursts, closer in space, to corroborate the data from the event. When that happens is anyone's guess, but hopefully it happens far enough away the rest of us don't have to worry about it.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Technology

Zombie Apocalypse: Safest plan is to 'head for the hills,' according to experts Watch

Image of In the event of a zombie apocalypse, cities would fall quickly. However, it would take weeks for zombies to penetrate into less densely populated areas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the event the dead return to life and begin to cannibalize the living, turning them into hordes of the shuffling undead, theoretically - there would be few options. Researchers at Cornell University offer a practical bit of advice should this happen - head ... continue reading


12 billion times size of our sun; scientists spot massive black hole Watch

Image of Researchers led by teams from China's Peking University and the University of Arizona both say the newly discovered black hole is six times larger than its biggest known contemporaries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Chinese researchers have spotted a super massive black hole. Scientists say the heavenly body is 12 billion times the size of the sun. They theorize it formed around 900 million years after the Big Bang. The black hole, named SDSS J010013.02 is larger than any ... continue reading


Apple's 'Project Titan' shaking up U.S. automotive market Watch

Image of Excitement over Apple's

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a market sometimes dictated by fad or fancy, Apple's announcement to hurry an electric car into production in a few short years - called "Project Titan," has inspired widespread consumer excitement. While auto companies typically take seven years to develop a ... continue reading


Bringing 'kid friendly' content to mobile users, YouTube releases new app 'YouTube Kids' Watch

Image of Intended for Smartphones and tablets, YouTube Kids will feature original content from DreamWorks TV, Jim Henson TV, Mother Goose Club, Talking Tom and Friends and more.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the Internet is usually seen as providing inappropriate content for the young, YouTube will be bringing "kid friendly" content via its new app, YouTube Kids. The app will be available free on Android devices - only on February 23. There is no word yet on iOS ... continue reading


Going for it: Apple vows to have electric car out by 2020 Watch

Image of Apple's proposed electric car, the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000 is a goal shared by at least three major companies. Both Tesla Motors and General Motors vow to have such a car available by the year 2017. Apple has now since ... continue reading


Keep your eyes open; Sony 'smart specs' get going as Google rethinks Glass Watch

Image of Sony's specs lack a certain

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Sony is forging ahead with its own version of Google Glass - spectacles that are tuned into the Internet, in spite of Google Glass being sent back for revamping. Computer giant Apple remains firm that the wrist is the right place for a wearable computer. Sony ... continue reading


New tool on Facebook will maintain your page - AFTER YOU DIE! Watch

Image of The Legacy Contact will be able to close down your profile, keep it frozen as a memorial, or leave it as it is.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How we will be remembered in cyberspace after we pass on is usually down low - way, way down on our list of priorities. Stepping up to the plate, Facebook - the preeminent social networking Web site, has created an app that will inform your friends that you are ... continue reading


CYBER WARFARE: Utah suffering 300 million attacks daily, possibly due to National Security Agency Watch

Image of Any time Utah finds itself in controversy, cyber attacks seem to increase.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the State of Utah is home to the new, secretive National Security Agency computer center, one that whistle-blower Edward Snowden informed to the world, hackers now think they can somehow get to it through state computer systems. This has led to the State of ... continue reading


Computer giant Apple wants to revolutionize TV - but world hesitates Watch

Image of Apple CEO Tim Cook said TV was

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Computer revolutionaries Apple want to extend their hands in to the cable TV business - but many players remains hesitant. A set-top box on screens seems to have been met with a cool reception with many cable TV companies. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Why is Apple staying mum on mysterious van with strange apparatus? Watch

Image of Concord is the largest city in Contra Costa County, California, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 122,067.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A mysterious vehicle spotted on the streets of Concord, California is drawing attention. It's a dark blue minivan with several cameras attached to its roof. Nobody in the Northern Californian city knows what it is doing there. The only thing anyone has been ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-18
3 Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21
16 He called down famine on the land, he took away ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
33 'Listen to another parable. There was a man, a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 6th, 2015 Image

St. Colette
March 6: Colette was the daughter of a carpenter named DeBoilet at Corby ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter