This just in…

Star Explodes Halfway Across Universe

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: March 21, 2008

Filed at 3:01 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — The explosion of a star halfway across the universe was so huge it set a record for the most distant object that could be seen on Earth by the naked eye.

The aging star, in a previously unknown galaxy, exploded in a gamma ray burst 7.5 billion light years away, its light finally reaching Earth early Wednesday.

The gamma rays were detected by NASA’s Swift satellite at 2:12 a.m. ”We’d never seen one before so bright and at such a distance,” NASA’s Neil Gehrels said. It was bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.

However, NASA has no reports that any skywatchers spotted the burst, which lasted less than an hour. Telescopic measurements show that the burst — which occurred when the universe was about half its current age — was bright enough to be seen without a telescope.

”Someone would have had to run out and look at it with a naked eye, but didn’t,” said Gehrels, chief of NASA’s astroparticles physics lab at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The starburst would have appeared as bright as some of the stars in the handle of the Little Dipper constellation, said Penn State University astronomer David Burrows. How it looked wasn’t remarkable, but the distance traveled was.

The 7.5 billion light years away far eclipses the previous naked eye record of 2.5 million light years. One light year is 5.9 trillion miles.

”This is roughly halfway to the edge of the universe,” Burrows said.

Before it exploded, the star was about 40 times bigger than our sun. The explosion vaporized any planet nearby, Gehrels said.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission–pages/swift/main/index.html

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in Tucson, Arizona with Stephanie Smith. https://linktr.ee/jaywbabcock

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