Possible Naked-Eye Gamma Ray Burst Spotted
Posted: 19 March 2008 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Might be a little off-topic for these forums, but it is science, and I love astronomy.

From the America Association of Variable Star Observers web site, AAVSO Alert Notice 372

Possible naked-eye gamma ray burst detected (GRB 080319B)
March 19, 2008

The intense gamma-ray burst GRB 080319B was detected in gamma ray, x-ray, optical light, and early indications by two automated cameras suggest that the optical afterglow of the burst may have briefly reached naked-eye visibility (mag ~ 5.76, GCN 7445, Cwiok et al) within 60 seconds of the onset.  It is highly unlikely the burst was caught visually, but it is possible the burst may have been detected if any observers were monitoring this area of the sky (e.g. for minor planet searching).

Over at the Bad Astronomy forum a graduate astronomy student posted that this gamma ray burst has a redshift that indicates the object is 10 billion light years away, and briefly outshone the rest of the universe, about 10^17 as bright as our Sun. This is all preliminary information, but will be quite interesting to follow as astrophysicists analyze the data.

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Posted: 21 March 2008 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Cool! I was a member of the AAVSO for several years back in my grad school days, and had a lot of fun feeling like I was adding my two grains of sand to the immense pile of scientific data. Will keep an eye on the news.

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