Shockingly Bright

Swift's X-Ray Telescope took this 0.1-second exposure of GRB 130427A at 3:50 a.m. EDT on April 27, just moments after Swift and Fermi triggered on the outburst. The image is 6.5 arcminutes across. Caption and Image: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler

Swift’s X-Ray Telescope took this 0.1-second exposure of GRB 130427A at 3:50 a.m. EDT on April 27, just moments after Swift and Fermi triggered on the outburst. The image is 6.5 arcminutes across.
Caption and Image: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler

On April 27th the brightest gamma ray burst ever recorded occured. It was so intense it was described as “shockingly, eye-wateringly bright” by Julie McEnery, project scientist for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The energy level of the burst was at least 94 billion electron volts and some three times greater than the previous record.

The burst occurred in the constellation Leo and was about 3.6 billion light-years away. As far away as that is, it is still rather close for such an event, in the closest five percent category.

It is suspected this was from a massive star collapsing into and becoming a black hole and ejecting material outward at close to the speed of light. The event should produce a supernova which will become evident shortly.

Read more about the burst and see some nice animations in the NASA press release.

2 thoughts on “Shockingly Bright

  1. I wonder what the effects would have been, had this happened not at 3.6 billion ly, but say at the other end of our own galaxy at 10,000 ly. Would we all be dead now? Or would we just have a “second sun” in our sky for a short time?

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