Search Results for 'grb'

Titanic GRB still going strong

April 10, 2008 | By

GRB080319b, the explosion that shook astronomers by getting bright enough to be seen with the naked eye, is still going strong. Hubble snapped this image three weeks after the explosion: Incredibly, even after that time the GRB afterglow is still brighter than its host galaxy! This was truly an incredible event. I imagine any potential […]

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Laser > GRB

April 10, 2008 | By

Wow: New Scientist is reporting that scientists have created a laser that pound for pound is the brightest light source in the Universe. It’s a petawatt laser, which is incredibly powerful (one petawatt is 1000 terawatts; peta is a prefix people will get to know in a year or two once terabyte drives prove too […]

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Arthur C Clarke and the GRB

March 26, 2008 | By

Over at EarthSkyBlog, Larry Sessions wrote a post suggesting that we call the extremely bright gamma-ray burst GRB 080319B "the Clarke Event", since it happened around the same time that ACC died. This may surprise you, but honestly, I don’t have very strong feelings about this idea. Clarke was a huge influence on so many […]

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Naked eye visible GRB!

March 20, 2008 | By

Holy Haleakala! Yesterday, a gamma-ray burst went off that was so bright that had you been looking at the right spot in the sky you could have seen it with just your own eyes! It’s difficult to put this into the proper context. GRBs are monumental explosions, the exploding of a massive star where most […]

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The 50th anniversary of Starfish Prime: the nuke that shook the world

July 9, 2012 | By

On July 9, 1962 — 50 years ago today — the United States detonated a nuclear weapon high above the Pacific Ocean. Designated Starfish Prime, it was part of a dangerous series of high-altitude nuclear bomb tests at the height of the Cold War. Its immediate effects were felt for thousands of kilometers, but it […]

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In which I SEE the light

May 25, 2012 | By

The Science and Entertainment Exchange is a program run by the National Academy of Sciences (!) to hook up entertainment professionals and scientists. The idea is to get better science in movies, and a better portrayal of scientists themselves. The win for science is obvious, but it also means better movies – a lot of […]

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Micro neutron star versus nano comet versus mega red giant

December 1, 2011 | By

If you’re a fan of over-the-top ridiculously huge violent explosions, then you won’t do any better than gamma-ray bursts. With apologies to Douglas Adams and Eccentrica Gallumbits, GRBs are the Universe’s largest bangs since The Big One. When they were first discovered, during the Cold War, it was unclear what caused them. There were more […]

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Happy birthday, Swift!

November 23, 2011 | By

NASA’s little satellite that could, Swift, recently celebrated its seventh year in space. It blasted into orbit on November 20, 2004, starting a mission that would increase our understanding of the most violent events in the universe, and shatter cosmic distance records. I wrote about Swift six years ago, on the first anniversary of its […]

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Most distant object ever seen… maybe

May 25, 2011 | By

Is this the most distant object ever seen? [Click to deathfromtheskiesenate.] That is GRB 090429B, a gamma-ray burst (or just GRB to those who want to sound nerdcool), the catastrophic and extremely violent detonation of a massive star. Think of it as a super-supernova, the death throes of a star that lived a short, hot, […]

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Followup on the star torn apart by a black hole: Hubble picture

April 7, 2011 | By

I recently wrote about a mind-boggling event: astronomers capturing what are apparently the final moments in a star’s life as it was literally torn apart by a black hole. Today, NASA has released some new pictures of the event, including this Hubble Space Telescope shot: [Click to embiggen.] I know, it may not look like […]

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