Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hubble Pinpoints Location Of Record-breaking Cosmic Explosion

Date:
April 15, 2008
Source:
Space Telescope Science Institute
Summary:
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the fading optical counterpart of a powerful gamma ray burst that holds the record for being the intrinsically brightest naked-eye object ever seen from Earth. For nearly a minute on March 19, this single "star" was as bright as 10 million galaxies. Hubble Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) images of GRB 080319B, taken on Monday, April 7, show the fading optical counterpart of the titanic blast.

Peering across 7.5 billion light-years and halfway back to the Big Bang, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the fading optical counterpart of a powerful gamma ray burst that holds the record for being the intrinsically brightest naked-eye object ever seen from Earth.
Credit: Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Tanvir (University of Leicester), and A. Fruchter (STScI)

Peering across 7.5 billion light-years and halfway back to the Big Bang, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the fading optical counterpart of a powerful gamma ray burst that holds the record for being the intrinsically brightest naked-eye object ever seen from Earth. For nearly a minute this single star was as bright as 10 million galaxies.

Hubble Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) images taken on Monday, April 7 show the fading optical counterpart of the titanic blast. The object erupted in a brilliant flash of gamma rays and other electromagnetic radiation at 2:12 a.m. EDT on March 19, and was detected by Swift, NASA's gamma ray burst watchdog satellite.

Immediately after the explosion, the gamma ray burst glowed as a dim 5th magnitude "star" in the spring constellation Bootes. Designated GRB 080319B, the intergalactic firework has been fading away ever since then.

Hubble astronomers had hoped to see the host galaxy where the burst presumably originated, but were taken aback that the light from the GRB is still drowning out the galaxy's light even three weeks after the explosion. This is particularly surprising because it was such a bright GRB initially.

Previously, bright bursts have tended to fade more rapidly, which fits in to the theory that brighter GRBs emit their energy in a more tightly confined beam. The slow fading leaves astronomers puzzling about just where the energy came from to power this GRB, and makes Hubble's next observations of this object in May all the more crucial.

Called a long-duration gamma ray burst, such events are theorized to be caused by the death of a very massive star, perhaps weighing as much as 50 times our Sun. Such explosions, sometimes dubbed "hypernovae," are more powerful than ordinary supernova explosions and are far more luminous, in part because their energy seems to be concentrated into a blowtorch-like beam that, in this case, was aimed directly at Earth.

The Hubble exposure also shows field galaxies around the fading optical component of the gamma ray burst, which are probably unrelated to the burst itself.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Space Telescope Science Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Space Telescope Science Institute. "Hubble Pinpoints Location Of Record-breaking Cosmic Explosion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080410200302.htm>.
Space Telescope Science Institute. (2008, April 15). Hubble Pinpoints Location Of Record-breaking Cosmic Explosion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080410200302.htm
Space Telescope Science Institute. "Hubble Pinpoints Location Of Record-breaking Cosmic Explosion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080410200302.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A bump in the rings could be a half-mile-wide miniature moon. It was found by accident in Cassini probe images. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) A total lunar eclipse, the first since December 2011, took place early Tuesday morning with the Americas getting the best glimpse. Duration: 1:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) Star gazers in parts of North and South America got a rare treat early Tuesday morning - a total eclipse of the moon. (April 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) New research says the urea from urine could be recycled for fuel. Urea is filtered out of wastewater when making drinking water. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins