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The Andromeda Galaxy Just Had a Bright Gamma Ray Event 129

First time accepted submitter SpaceMika (867804) writes "We just saw something bright in the Andromeda Galaxy, and we don't know what it was. A Gamma Ray Burst or an Ultraluminous X-Ray Object, either way it will be the closest of its type we've ever observed at just over 2 million light years away. It's the perfect distance: close enough to observe in unprecedented detail, and far enough to not kill us all."
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The Andromeda Galaxy Just Had a Bright Gamma Ray Event

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  • Re:far enough (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @09:36AM (#47107737)

    "technically a nearby gamma ray burst would fry just half the planet. with any luck it would be antarctica or somewhere similar."

    I think the andromeda galaxy is visible from more than just the polar regions, so it could fry whatever side of the planet is facing it at the time.

    Of course if the axis of the burst (the black hole that caused it) is not pointed exactly at us then it wouldn't be quite so dangerous.

    A really close GRB (in our galaxy) might only fry one side of the planet immediately, but it would still be bad news from people on the other side of the planet, as the ozone layer would probably be wiped out, there would be a lot of skin cancer and plant life would also have problems. Probably some climate issues in the long run

    and the psychic effect (cats and dogs, living together, mass hysteria...)

  • Re:"Just had"? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @09:53AM (#47107927)

    2 million years late of what? how do you sinchronize your clock here and 2 million light years away to measure that time. Oh, wait...

    The moment you realize that when the light reach us is the same instant as when the light departed (considered it travelled in vacuum), you will start understanding relativity.

  • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @11:33AM (#47109273)

    It's been a long time since I watched the movies, but I believe that very line likely canonically establishes that the force travels far faster than light. If The Force propagated at lightspeed then, unless they were actually in the Alderaan system at the time of the destruction, it would be at least a few years before the disturbance could be sensed. Assuming Alderaan had even a moderate level of translight traffic news of it's destruction would have spread through the empire by word-of-mouth long before light from the event reached even the nearest neighboring star.

  • Re: far enough (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @01:55PM (#47110807)

    Ah yes, because civilization is the sole providence of the white man - as proven by the fact that his superior weaponry allowed him to conquer the world. Because obviously military technology is the only valid measure of a civilization - and never mind the fact that European science has its roots firmly in the advances made by the Muslim world before its own collapse, who in turn drew heavily on the advances of African, Indian, and Chinese civilizations.

    And which world-wide civilization was that? And which deluge? Certainly not the flooding of the Mediterranean that was recorded in Sumerian legends and thence made it's way into Christian myths? Because while that may have destroyed one of the great empires of the day, the rest of the world didn't notice. And I assure you, while deluge myths are common among ancient coastal civilizations, they are markedly absent from most inland civilizations. Not to mention that, to the best of our knowledge, it's only in the last few centuries that global navigation has been possible on a large enough scale to create anything remotely resembling a world-wide civilization.

    Which of course brings us to the last point - even if our pasty skin magically confers upon us the blessings of the one true civilization, thanks to our inclination to conquest we're now pretty much everywhere - surely Australia could keep the torch of civilization burning, or do you suppose they've spent too much time in the sun and had their tans drive out their capacity for civilization?

    I do hope you're trolling, otherwise that's just embarrassing.

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...