Astronomers See Further

gamma ray burst

In this artist's concept, dense knots of dust in otherwise normal galaxies dim the light of a dark gamma-ray burst (center). The dust absorbs most or all of a burst's visible light but not higher-energy X-rays and gamma rays. Image Credit NASA/Swift/Aurore Simonnet

The light from a star that exploded 13 million years ago was recently detected by NASA’s Swift satellite.  The explosion is known as a gamma-ray burst (GRB) & has been named GRB 090423.  Gamma-ray bursts are thought to be connected to the formation of black holes as massive stars collapse.  First seen by Swift in April, teams of astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope, the European Southern Observatory’s 8.2-meter Very Large Telescope, and the 3.6-meter Italian Telescopio Nazionale Galileo recently verified the new find.  For more information, see Science Daily.

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