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 July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Technology

Innovative space invention promises to reach space locations in record times Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A once rejected drive can now revolutionize the entire outer space research, as NASA and several others confirmed this program actually works. The invention was previously rejected by scientists after it defied the physics concept of the conservation of momentum, ... continue reading


Is your phone in danger? Threatening malicious text message can hack Android's inner system Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With just a simple text message, your phone and all its data may be compromised without you even knowing. The core of this nightmare is at the heart of the operating system itself - Stagefright, an Android code library. Users currently have nothing much to protect ... continue reading


Pope Francis uses iPad to become first person registered for 2016's World Youth Day Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On Sunday, Pope Francis successfully became the first person registered for the 2016 edition of the World Youth Day, using an iPad. Before registering, he addressed thousands at the St. Peter's Square in an appeal for the release of an Italian Jesuit priest kidnapped ... continue reading


EARTH'S TWIN: Kepler 452b heralded as the most similar planet to Earth yet discovered Watch

Image of While Kepler-452b is larger than Earth, it's 385-day orbit is only five percent longer. Furthermore, the planet is five percent farther from its parent star Kepler-452 than Earth is from the sun.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kepler-452b has astronomers calling the planet "the closest twin to Earth" they have yet seen. The planet is the smallest world found orbiting in the habitable zone of a star. Kepler-452b orbits its star at approximately the same distance that Earth orbits the ... continue reading


Solar system similar to ours discovered by astronomers Watch

Image of Researchers believe the ideal habitable exoplanet would reside in a solar system that mirrors ours. A

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an new astronomical study on the search for "solar system 2.0" - a solar system that is similar to our own, and therefore more likely of sustaining life, scientists have made an exciting new discovery. Such a solar system exists, some 200 light years away, and ... continue reading


'Bee Hive' Skyscraper cities: The future for overpopulated areas Watch

Image of Bee Hive skyscraper cities are expected to put a halt to urbanization in the future.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The future of urban living is about to change with the conceptualization of "Bee Hive" skyscrapers set up to house communities in urban areas. An entire city within a single skyscraper is the futuristic solution to population density problems in the major cities of the ... continue reading


PLAYING GOD?: High-quality artificial sperm manufactured by Chinese scientists for the first time Watch

Image of They don't have tails and can't swim. The new artificial sperm - created for the first time by Chinese scientists, look more like eggs than natural sperm.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They don't have tails and can't swim. The new artificial sperm - created for the first time by Chinese scientists, look more like eggs than natural sperm. However, they can still fertilize an egg and pass on genetic information to potential offspring. LOS ... continue reading


Candles for your Mobile Phones: Flame used to produce electricity can charge your mobile phones Watch

Image of The Candle Charger can generate electricity to charge your mobile phones.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Technology now provides a solution to untimely blackouts; mobile phones can now be charged even in the event of a power failure through the Candle Charger. With the heat produced by a candle, mobile devices can be charged and one can stay connected without ... continue reading


Smartphones getting smarter: Can your smartphone tell if you're depressed? Watch

Image of Your Smartphones can be a black box of your emotions. (Photo by: Jovo Jovanovic for Stocksy United)

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Changes in technology have greatly affected the advancement of society. It has also affected how we live our lives. Technological advances have started to seclude human beings from real life experiences that they should be facing on a daily basis. Recent studies ... continue reading


They're watching your every move: What are Smart Cities? Watch

Image of Beijing [not pictured] is one of the cities believed to be eying the development of Smart Cities.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Billions of people are being confronted by different governments around the world to create "smart cities." These "smart cities" are urban areas that are covered with internet-connected devices that will, not only be a means of communication, but also control the ... 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, Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
16 Moses did this; he did exactly as Yahweh had ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8, 11
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:47-53
47 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2015 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... 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