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.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Technology

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH? Next step in human evolution could lead to eternal youth Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Humanity's life expectancy has grown over the years, thanks to medical advances. However, this does not necessarily translate into quality of life. Living longer sometimes means living in increasingly reduced circumstances due to infirmity and old age. ... continue reading


NASA's top scientist believes signs of alien life will be discovered 'within a decade' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years," NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said. The proclamation was made during a panel discussion that ... continue reading


From battle weapons to photographers, drones now cleverly used as advertisement model Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the past few years, drones have become efficient in making deliveries, serving as waiters and even doing photography on sporting events. Now, drones are starting to fly with advertisements. According Eugene Stark, founder of the company Hoovy, drones have ... continue reading


Removing human error: Planes without pilots new, viable option Watch

Image of Some advocates for air safety say that current advances in sensor technology, computing and artificial intelligence are making human pilots less necessary than ever in the cockpit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Following the Germanwings tragedy, when a distraught copilot slammed a plane into the French Alps in a suicide that cost the lives of 150 other people on board, many are questioning the validity of pilots on planes. Some argue that human pilots are in fact ... continue reading


Is Facebook changing? Facebook plans to conquer the virtual world this year Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Facebook's chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer promised that the Virtual Reality (VR) program will come into life within the year. The Oculus headset, which was on their top secret list before, was announced to be available soon, but the exact release date is not ... continue reading


Smartphones and Internet may be putting your child's mental health in jeopardy Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil

The number of young people being admitted for mental treatments since 2010 has rapidly increased. Julie Lynn Evans, a psychotherapist for over 25 years now, is grateful for the additional funding being sent into mental health services, but she believes the dilemma ... continue reading


Stealth fighter jets in U.S. set to get massive upgrades Watch

Image of Pentagon officials have stressed the importance of developing the new long-range strike bomber calling it critical to national security and nuclear deterrence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A mainstay of United States military defense, stealth bombers have been around since the Seventies. The Air Force's aging fleet is now ready for an expensive makeover. The Pentagon intends to develop a high-priority, super-classified, next-generation bomber. ... continue reading


Will you say 'hello' to Barbie? Mattel's new Barbie doll is 'creeping out' parents, raising concerns of privacy Watch

Image of Hello Barbie will allow its owner to carry on a conversation through recorded audio and WiFi.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Classic toy doll, Barbie, has been reinvented after the makers, Mattel received numerous requests for a Barbie doll that kids can talk to, according to a spokesperson of the toy company. Mattel's response is WiFi connected "Hello Barbie" that comes with an installed ... continue reading


Scientists find way to eliminate inherited diseases with genetically modified human eggs Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New gene-editing techniques are being improved and could soon eliminate inherited diseases from future generations by modifying the DNA of human egg cells. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although the idea of editing chromosomes in human eggs or sperm is feared, ... continue reading


Hidden spy cameras discovered at United States post office, installation confirmed by USPIS Watch

Image of freerepublic.com

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A hidden camera disappeared just after an hour of being discovered at a Denver local post office, Fox31 Denver reported. People became alarmed that they are being watched as they drop-off their mails with the possibility of the camera collecting their facial features ... 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, First Peter 5:5-14
5 In the same way, younger people, be subject to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 16:15-20
15 And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 25th, 2015 Image

St. Mark
April 25: The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New ... 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