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Astronomers Witness a Gamma-Ray Burst with the Highest Energy Ever Seen

Astronomers Witness a Gamma-Ray Burst with the Highest Energy Ever Seen 90

The rule that one should never look directly at the Sun doesn’t not apply to the Hubble telescope and it’s a good thing for us that’s the case. Otherwise, we’d never know about what astronomers are calling the brightest light energy ever recorded. Aliens burning a lot of leaves? Independence Day on Proxima b orbiting Proxima Centauri? Actually, the real reason for the light is much more interesting.

“Hubble’s observations suggest that this particular burst was sitting in a very dense environment, right in the middle of a bright galaxy 5 billion light years away. This is really unusual, and suggests that might be why it produced this exceptionally powerful light.”

“Burst” gives it away. What Andrew Levan of the Institute for Mathematics, Astrophysics & Particle Physics Department of Astrophysics at Radboud University in the Netherlands, was referring to in a press release on the Hubble Space Telescope web site is a gamma-ray burst – the rare, extremely brief and intensely bright explosions thought to be caused by massive supernovas. This one was discovered on January 14, 2019, by astronomers using the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory and the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The coordinates were immediately sent to fellow astronomers around the world who trained their telescopes at the rare event. Shortly thereafter, time was allocated on the Hubble’s busy schedule to observe the gamma-ray burst, which is now known as GRB 190114C.

It didn’t take much observation to determine that GRB 190114C was special. Its light was measured at 1Tera electron volt (TeV). One electron volt (eV) is the “amount of kinetic energy gained (or lost) by a single electron accelerating from rest through an electric potential difference of one volt in vacuum” (Wikipedia). That makes it a unit of energy, not light. 1Tera electron volts is one trillion electron volts. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) web site has an interesting way of looking at this amount of energy.

“A TeV is a unit of energy used in particle physics. 1 TeV is about the energy of motion of a flying mosquito. What makes the LHC so extraordinary is that it squeezes energy into a space about a million million times smaller than a mosquito.”

This is also the amount of kinetic energy released by proton collisions in the Large Hadron Collider, making GRB 190114C the ultimate big thing in a small package. It’s such a big deal, the journal Nature published four papers in one day on it. While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact location of GRB 190114C, the Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 focused in on a pair of interacting galaxies, with the GRB appearing in the nuclear region of the more massive galaxy – something else that’s never been seen before.

Astronomers Witness a Gamma-Ray Burst with the Highest Energy Ever Seen 92

“This new observation is a vital step forward in our understanding of gamma-ray bursts, their immediate surroundings, and just how matter behaves when it is moving at 99.999% of the speed of light.”

Antonio de Ugarte Postigo of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía in Spain, lead author of one of the papers, described the immensity of the discovery – at least to astronomers. Let’s hope it’s eventually a big deal to the rest of us – at least in our lifetimes.

Source: Mysterious Universe

Space

In December, Earth’s inhabitants will be able to see a rare cosmic phenomenon

In December, Earth's inhabitants will be able to see a rare cosmic phenomenon 99

At the end of the year, astronomers expect to see a rare cosmic phenomenon dubbed the “Christmas star” in the sky. It will be caused by the fact that Saturn and Jupiter come close to each other at a minimum distance and almost collide to become one super-bright point of light.

These two planets became one straight line in the solar system a few weeks ago, but at the end of December they will be on it for observers from Earth. This will happen on December 21, 2020, on the day of the winter solstice, when the daylight hours are the shortest and the night is the longest. Jupiter and Saturn will look like a “double planet” for the first time since the Middle Ages, Forbes writes.

“The conjunctions of the two planets are extremely rare, but this particular conjunction is especially rare because the planets will be very close to each other,” Patrick Hartigan, astronomer at Rice University, USA said. “In order to observe a closer conjunction of these planets in the night sky, we would have to return on March 4, 1226.”

It is noted that the unusual celestial phenomenon can be observed from anywhere on the planet. The main thing is that the sky is clear. The “Christmas Star” can be seen in the western sky about an hour after sunset when viewed from the northern hemisphere.

“On the evening of their closest approach, December 21, they will appear as a twin planet, separated by less than 1/5 the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan said. “For most amateur astronomers looking at the night sky through a telescope, both planets and several of their largest satellites will be in the same field of view this evening.”

In December, Earth's inhabitants will be able to see a rare cosmic phenomenon 100

Those who want to see Jupiter and Saturn converge in the sky as close, but will be higher above the horizon, will have to wait until March 15, 2080, Hartigan said. After that, a similar configuration for this planetary pair will not be observed until 2400.

Astronomers are already preparing equipment to analyze in detail the upcoming event. Everything is very serious, because the second such rapprochement between Jupiter and Saturn cannot be expected.

Of course, there will not be a collision of planets. You just get the impression that something terrible is about to happen in the solar system. Astronomers have assured that there is no reason to worry.

Is the “Christmas Star” an omen of things to come? Mark your calendars! 

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Space

A giant asteroid worth $ 17.4 billion is approaching Earth

A giant asteroid worth $ 17.4 billion is approaching Earth 101

NASA announced the imminent flight of a potentially dangerous asteroid will pass the Earth. The website of the Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects says that a celestial body ranging in size from 370 to 820 meters will approach the planet on November 29.

The asteroid, consisting of nickel, iron and cobalt, is approaching the Earth. The cost of minerals in its composition reaches $ 17.4 billion, with reference to the Asterank database, which contains data on 600 thousand asteroids.

The distance between the asteroid 153201 (2000 WO107) and the Earth will be more than 4 million kilometers, the Space Reference specified with reference to NASA data. It is noted that the distance from the Earth to the Moon is 10 times less, and the asteroid is considered dangerous because it crosses the orbit of our planet.

According to the NASA Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects, the celestial body will approach the Earth on November 29. 

It is noted that this time the asteroid does not pose a threat to the planet, however, it belongs to the group of potentially dangerous ones, since its trajectory crosses the Earth’s orbit.

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Space

Intrusive buzzing. The Perseverance rover recorded the space sounds of its flight to Mars

Intrusive buzzing. The Perseverance rover recorded the space sounds of its flight to Mars 102

NASA’s new rover is equipped with a microphone to record sounds during landing on the Red Planet.

NASA’s Perseverance rover, which is en route to Mars, has recorded its flight to the planet.

The new rover is equipped with a microphone designed to record sound when entering the atmosphere, descent and landing. The device should arrive on the Red Planet in February 2021.

But before the rover reached its destination, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) released an audio file recording what the rover “hears” during its interplanetary voyage.

The 60-second recording, posted on SoundCloud, was captured on Oct.19 while checking the rover’s EDL and microphone system.

Experts explain that the buzzing sound comes from a pump that pumps fluid to regulate the rover’s temperature.

NASA compares the new hit for your playlist to the noise you hear on wired headphones when the wire rubs against your clothing. It was these mechanical vibrations that the Perseverance microphone picked up.

“Located at the rear of the starboard side of the Perseverance, the pump is part of the unit’s heat system that maintains operating temperatures for the equipment, even in the coldest locations,” JPL said in a statement.

“I apologize to the person who came up with the slogan for the film” Alien “(” No one in space will hear your scream “- ed.), Perhaps no one will hear the scream, but perhaps a pump to remove heat will be heard,” says a leading engineer at JPL Dave Gruel.

He added that the microphone picks up the hum of the pump through mechanical vibration.

The Perseverance rover is supposed to land on Mars on February 18, 2021 in the Jezero crater – it is believed that a riverbed used to pass through this area. This is one of those places where traces of living organisms on the planet could be preserved.

The main mission of the rover is to detect signs of life in order to advance the study of the ancient history of Mars. In addition, the device will become part of a mission to deliver samples from the surface of the red planet: it will dig out rock at certain points, and then another device will pick them up, which will send them to Earth.

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