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Flashes Shed Light On Cosmic Clashes

Date:
October 6, 2005
Source:
European Southern Observatory
Summary:
An international team of astronomers has for the first time observed the visible light from a short gamma-ray burst (GRB). They showed that these short, intense bursts of gamma-ray emission most likely originate from the violent collision of two merging neutron stars. The same team has also used ESO's Very Large Telescope to constrain the birthplace of the first ever short burst whose position could be pinpointed with high precision, GRB 050509B.

Still images from an animation of two neutron stars orbiting each other and gradually being dragged together. The end result is a gigantic explosion where two jets are emitted. If one of the jets points toward the Earth we observe a short gamma-ray burst.
Credit: Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institue, University of Copenhagen/Jan Rasmussen DRC

An international team of astronomers led by Danish astronomer Jens Hjorth [1] has for the first time observed the visible light from a short gamma-ray burst (GRB). Using the 1.5m Danish telescope at La Silla (Chile), they showed that these short, intense bursts of gamma-ray emission most likely originate from the violent collision of two merging neutron stars. The same team has also used ESO's Very Large Telescope to constrain the birthplace of the first ever short burst whose position could be pinpointed with high precision, GRB 050509B. The results are being published in the October 6 issue of the journal Nature.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Southern Observatory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Southern Observatory. "Flashes Shed Light On Cosmic Clashes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051006085035.htm>.
European Southern Observatory. (2005, October 6). Flashes Shed Light On Cosmic Clashes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051006085035.htm
European Southern Observatory. "Flashes Shed Light On Cosmic Clashes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051006085035.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

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