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Astronomers observe huge cosmic explosion


Posted on Saturday, 23 November, 2013 | Comment icon 12 comments


The supernova explosion is the largest ever observed. Image Credit: NASA/Swift/Cruz deWilde

A powerful supernova in a distant galaxy has produced the largest gamma ray burst ever detected.

Referred to by scientists as "the monster", the enormous explosion was picked up by telescopes last spring and is the most powerful ever recorded. Located in a galaxy 3.7 billion light-years away, the event has been hailed as a "once-in-a-century cosmic event" by NASA astrophysics chief Paul Hertz who spoke about its discovery at a conference on Thursday.

Gamma ray bursts are typically produced when a massive star dies and collapses in to a black hole, an event that generates a huge explosion known as a supernova.

If one of these happened to go off in a nearby star system within our own galaxy then it would spell certain doom for our planet, however fortunately the odds of this happening are estimated to be less than 1 in 10 million.

"These are really neat explosions," said Stanford physicist Peter Michelson. "If you like fireworks, you can't beat these. Other than the Big Bang itself, these are the biggest there are."

   
Source: Independent | Comments (12)

Tags: Supernova


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 November, 2013, 23:04
Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions in the cosmos. Astronomers think most occur when the core of a massive star runs out of nuclear fuel, collapses under its own weight, and forms a black hole. The black hole then drives jets of particles that drill all the way through the collapsing star at nearly the speed of light. Artist's rendering. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Comment icon #4 Posted by godnodog on 23 November, 2013, 15:11
Yeah....my fault....sorry about that....
Comment icon #5 Posted by deslin on 23 November, 2013, 18:35
Pics or it didn't happen, NASA :P
Comment icon #6 Posted by Xanthurion2 on 23 November, 2013, 21:52
Something about space on the front page just in time for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary! Actually not much of a coincidence being on this site but still, it's fantastic.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 November, 2013, 0:24
Please explain what you mean here? In your explanation could you please take into account the fact that there is a video of it happening in THIS thread (the first video to be precise, the one with the title "Optical Flash From GRB 130427A" and the deion underneath it explaining what the video shows). I only ask because your post does rather give the impression that what constitutes scientific discovery is based solely on whether you have seen a picture of it or not.
Comment icon #8 Posted by qxcontinuum on 24 November, 2013, 7:26
Wondering how many planets located in vicinity have been blasted off. Maybe some were inhabited as well. This universe is so wild!
Comment icon #9 Posted by cerberusxp on 25 November, 2013, 2:26
"If one of these happened to go off in a nearby star system within our own galaxy then it would spell certain doom for our planet, however fortunately the odds of this happening are estimated to be less than 1 in 10 million." Well I must say this is reassuring considering that there are an estimated 3 Billion to 100 Billion in our Galaxy alone. Very interesting that we finally caught one in the act. The odds of that are large enough.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Taun on 25 November, 2013, 11:48
I'm glad I was no where near that puppy when it blew...
Comment icon #11 Posted by Lilly on 25 November, 2013, 12:18
We wouldn't be talking about it that's for sure!
Comment icon #12 Posted by coolguy on 30 November, 2013, 5:58
Awesome I wish we could see this with the naked eye


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