'Monster' cosmic explosion capable of destroying Earth captured in distant galaxy
Scientists record the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, luckily it was in a far-off galaxy
The biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed was captured by orbiting telescopes last spring, astronomers have said.
Branded ‘the monster’ by scientists, lucky for us on Earth, the huge gamma ray explosion happened in a far off galaxy 3.7 billion light-years away.
"This burst was a once-in-a-century cosmic event," Nasa astrophysics chief Paul Hertz said at a news conference Thursday.
A gamma ray burst happens when a massive star dies, collapses into a black hole, explodes in what's called a supernova and ejects energetic radiation. A planet caught in one of these bursts would lose its atmosphere instantly and be left a burnt cinder, scientists say.
Although orbiting Nasa telescopes have been capturing bursts every couple of days for more than 20 years, this one smashed records, four studies published Thursday in the journal Science said.
Witnessed on April 27, the explosion flooded Nasa instruments with five times the energy of its nearest competitor, a 1999 blast, said University of Alabama at Huntsville astrophysicist Rob Preece, who authored one of the studies.
In general, gamma ray bursts are "the most titanic explosions in the universe," Preece said, and this one was so big that some of the telescope instruments hit their peak. It was far stronger and lasted longer than any previous ones.
"I call it the monster," Preece said. One of the separate studies, produced independent of Preece, also used the word "monster" in its title.
"These are really neat explosions," said Peter Michelson, a Stanford physicist who is the chief scientist for one of the instruments on a Nasa gamma ray burst-spotting telescope. "If you like fireworks, you can't beat these. Other than the Big Bang itself, these are the biggest there are."
Scientists have assured that it is extremely unlikely a gamma ray burst, especially a large one, could go off in our galaxy. Harvard's Avi Loeb put the chances at less than 1 in 10 million.
Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way
Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down
Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree really is being made into a film
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Chicago voter tells Obama 'don't touch my girlfriend' – Obama stays super smooth
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Raphael Ravenscroft dead: 'Baker Street' musician who played the most famous saxophone solo for just £27, dies aged 60
Darren Vann: Indiana man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear more
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified secondary s...
£22000 - £36000 per annum + MPR / UPR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our cli...
£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...