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 August 21, 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 August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

NASA (Aug. 18, 2014) Europe's ATV-5 delivers new science and the crew tests smart SPHERES. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

NASA (Aug. 15, 2014) Carbon Observatory’s First Data, ATV-5 Delivers Cargo, Cygnus Departs Station and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Shuttle Replica Hoisted for Landmark Exhibit

Space Shuttle Replica Hoisted for Landmark Exhibit

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 14, 2014) The space shuttle replica Independence has been hoisted atop Space Center Houston's shuttle carrier aircraft, creating a monument to the shuttle program which will open to the public next year. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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