Star light, star bright….first star I see tonight…..A star that died 5 billion years ago exploded far beyond our own galaxy last month and blinded a satellite known as Swift. Neil Gehrels is Swift’s principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. He says the explosion, dubbed GRB 100621A is the “brightest x-ray source discovered by Swift, since it first started detecting them in 2005.”
According to Reuters, the burst was first discovered by Phil Evans of Britain’s University of Leicester. Evans was reviewing some of Swift’s recorded data at the time.
“The burst was so bright when it first erupted that our data-analysis software shut down,” Evans said.
“So many photons were bombarding the detector each second that it just couldn’t count them quickly enough. It was like trying to use a rain gauge and a bucket to measure the flow rate of a tsunami.”
Apparently when stars explode, they cause radiation to travel at the speed of light and in every direction. Scientists tell us that the Gamma rays hit the earth first, after which X-rays hit the earth.
According to MSNBC, the explosion of this star shone 140 times brighter than the brightest ongoing X-ray source in the sky; which is a nearby neutron star,
The vast universe has always fascinated me. To look out into the night sky and wonder exactly how far away the stars really are still bewilders me to this day. I truly have no concept of how far away the stars and planets are…and quite honestly I like it that way. It leaves something for me that remains almost ethereal. It allows me to hang on to just the tiniest fragment of childhood fantasy. While I certainly know there’s no man in the moon, nor a cow that jumps over it, I actually like the notion that we haven’t discovered all there is to know about the stars in the sky.
Are you a science buff? Do you keep abreast of the latest discoveries made by NASA and other organizations that promote space exploration?