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Space Science

Robotic Telescope Unravels Cosmic Blast Mystery 58

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the eagle-eye dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Register is reporting that scientists from Liverpool John Moores University have used their robotic telescope in the Canary Islands to measure the polarization of light from a Gamma Ray Burst just 203 seconds after its detection by NASA's Swift Gamma Ray Observatory Satellite. The result suggests that the emitting material flowing out from the explosion may not be highly magnetized in the way that some theories had predicted."
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Robotic Telescope Unravels Cosmic Blast Mystery

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  • by pln2bz (449850) * on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:57PM (#18403691)
    It shouldn't surprise us that GRB's don't behave as we thought. Nearly everything we think we know about them is based upon assumptions and speculation that are only minimally supported by evidence. There is potential for error at every single step of this process. To continue to be surprised that our telescopes are returning anomalous data when that's what's been happening nearly every single day for years and years and years is silly. At some point, you have to go back to your assumptions and figure out where you went wrong.
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:13PM (#18404661) Journal
      It shouldn't surprise us that GRB's don't behave as we thought. Nearly everything we think we know about them is based upon assumptions and speculation that are only minimally supported by evidence. There is potential for error at every single step of this process.

      In fact the whole idea is to sometimes find out surprising things that find flaws in the old models and give information to drive the creation of more accurate models. (One definition of information transfer is how much the receiver is surprised. B-) )

      That's what we're spending all this money for: To come up with physics that more closely matches the real universe. To do this we have to know what's NOT matching in the old models.

      (For those - ideally few of the slashdot participants - who gripe that it's being spent at all: At some point the improved models will almost certainly produce some new and useful technologies and/or end squandering of resources on the pursuit of dead-ends. Of course you can't know up front WHAT technologies it will affect. That's part of what you're finding out.;)
      • by sumdumass (711423)

        (For those - ideally few of the slashdot participants - who gripe that it's being spent at all: At some point the improved models will almost certainly produce some new and useful technologies and/or end squandering of resources on the pursuit of dead-ends. Of course you can't know up front WHAT technologies it will affect. That's part of what you're finding out.;)

        The alternative could be to insist the old models are corect, channel all the funding into convincing other of this and then refute any attemp

      • by x2A (858210)
        "For those - ideally few of the slashdot participants - who gripe that it's being spent at all:"

        Just remember that pretty much whoever you give money to will spend it, so it's not like the money gets lost outside of the system. Even if the scientists blow all the money on booze, think about how much of that is tax that goes back into the system.

    • However much scientists have learned from this set of data, gamma ray bursts remain hugely mysterious events. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and president of the Royal Society said that science was "still flummoxed: by the underlying trigger of the explosions, and why they sometimes emit brief flashes of light. "Theorists have a lot of tentative ideas, and these observations narrow down the range of options," he added. Nice of you to summarize the article for everyone, but you left out the informativ
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by cluckshot (658931)

      Just about every time I report to people on this forum that observed data is conflicting with their defined model of the universe. I get moderated as troll. I really wish people would wake up and smell the coffee. The data is vastly different from the assumptions.

      Doesn't anyone remember the Stardust recovery. It was going to find comet ice. Sorry folks... it must be summer and we just ran out of ice. Of course we have minerals that formed at high heat, (not cold temps) and which would have been dest

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by pln2bz (449850) *

        Just about every time I report to people on this forum that observed data is conflicting with their defined model of the universe. I get moderated as troll. I really wish people would wake up and smell the coffee. The data is vastly different from the assumptions.

        Merely pointing this fact out as it occurs every time it occurs can have an impact in itself. Many people will wait until they see numerous others bringing this up to actually consider the concept. The great communicators today in astrophysics wi

        • by Anonymous Coward
          "overwhelming nature of the disconfirming evidence for the Big Bang and stellar evolution"

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Firas_spectrum. jpg [wikipedia.org]
          • by pln2bz (449850) *
            Oh please.

            Are you aware that there are stars whose surface temperatures are too low to have fusion within their cores?

            Are you aware that traditional cometary theory has basically been disconfirmed by the Stardust and Deep Impact missions?

            Are you aware of the insane number of anomalies represented by rilles on the rocky planets within our own solar system? Many of these rilles actually travel both up and down with the topography of the land.

            Have you reviewed the evidence by Halton Arp of high redshift quasa
      • You aren't a good scientist, you are delusional. You get modded troll because you have all the characteristics of a complete and total quack. You parrot back information from disreputable sources, you say things you don't understand, you keep on bringing up things that have been disproved as if they were fact, you have a highly inflated sense of your own intelligence, you think everyone who disagrees with you is both a moron and out to get you. You ignore anything anyone says that proves you wrong. No one w
        • by pln2bz (449850) *

          You aren't a good scientist, you are delusional.

          Not quite sure if you're talking to me or the other guy that I was talking with who agreed with me (I suppose both and all of the rest of us who are growing in numbers ...), but you seem to care a lot that other people believe something different than yourself. And I guess, quite ironically, that would make you quite a bad scientist as well (!) since the public expects that scientists remain open-minded in the face of evidence -- which, despite your assertion

      • by x2A (858210)
        "just about shout that the universe doesn't fit the nice box most people believe in right now"

        Who's "most people"?? From what I can gather, "most people" believe in some kind of god based creation, of CAUSE we're gonna keep finding things that don't fit that belief. As for people in the science community - they DON'T believe in some nice model they have fitting the way the universe works, that's why they're looking for things like this that go against the current models.

        And that's why you're being modded as
  • by cyberbob2351 (1075435) on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:09PM (#18403859) Homepage
    With explosions that size, wouldn't 203 seconds of lagtime before observation be a huge killer of the results?

    Furthermore, is there any possibility of a dipole radiation distribution for the fraction of linear polarization? Perhaps for this particular sample, we caught the glimpse of a stellar pole? Wouldn't we need a larger sample size to make a more conclusive prediction if this was the case?
    • by markov_chain (202465) on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:28PM (#18404097) Homepage
      Furthermore, is there any possibility of a dipole radiation distribution for the fraction of linear polarization?

      I think you're on to something here. Whoever created that thing could have screwed up any number of things:

      - Incorrect dipole length, creating a bad radiation pattern
      - Bad impedance match
      - Incorrect balun use-- it is not needed unless the feed is unbalanced
      - Forgot to factor in dielectric constants, although this is in vacuum so should be safe here

      I would measure the VSWR and go from there.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Gazzonyx (982402)
        I'm not sure that I get why parent's post is funny... Did I miss something?
        • by StikyPad (445176)
          Either we're both missing some incredibly obscure reference, or idiot moderators think radio terms are funny.
    • Perhaps for this particular sample, we caught the glimpse of a stellar pole?

      If it's emitted directionally perhaps you can only observe it when you're looking at a pole.
  • Its a magnetar burp. Google magnetar+GRB

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