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Fermi and Swift Observe Record-setting Gamma Ray Burst 107

Posted by timothy
from the where-do-we-send-the-medal? dept.
symbolset writes "Phys.org shares a visual image of a 'shockingly bright' gamma ray burst observed April 27th, labelled GRB 130427A and subsequently observed by ground optical and radio telescopes. One gamma ray photon from the event measured 94 billion electron volts — three times the previous record. The burst lasted four hours and was observable for most of a day — another record. Typical duration of a gamma ray burst is from 10 milliseconds to a few minutes. Astronomers will now train optical telescopes on the spot searching for the supernova expected to have caused it — typically one is observed some few days after the burst. They expect to find one by the middle of May. The event occurred about 3.6 billion lightyears distant which is fairly close as gamma ray bursts go. Click on the GIF to view the actual burst."
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Fermi and Swift Observe Record-setting Gamma Ray Burst

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  • by mbone (558574) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @08:57PM (#43632247)

    Anywhere in the Galaxy, if it were pointed in our direction. Maybe anywhere in the Local Group, if it were pointed right at us.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 04, 2013 @11:30PM (#43632675)

    I read 200 light years from a typical supernova lasting a few milliseconds.

  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @12:27AM (#43632821)

    Really? Is slashdot now making fun of the nerds for being smart?

    You must be a ton of fun at parties. In this case, the poster is actually making fun of *himself* for not being as smart as the OP (or, possibly, simply for not being educated in the field the OP is talking about), not of the OP for being smarter than him. At worst, it is a comment on how specific and arcane the language of a specific field can become to the outside observer.

  • Re:Betelgeuse? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @01:12AM (#43632971)

    If it was Betelgeuse, you would know it. It would probably be bright enough to be seen during daylight in the visible light range, let alone invisible GRBs.

    Thing is, unless Betelgeuse happened to have it's axis pointed right at us, we wouldn't be hit by a beam of radiation that sometimes forms at the poles of a supernova/black hole. If that beam was not pointed right at us, we are far enough away that the rest of the supernova products would not cause us more than a light show.

    Supernovae need to be around 50 light years away or less to cause serious issues for us, unless the energy was very concentrated (like the jets from certain types of black holes). Betelgeuse is not that close. Indeed, no candidates for a supernova are known to be within that radius at this time.

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