Massive explosion from unknown source billions of light years away baffles astronomers

At 10:49pm Western Australian time on February 2 this year, cosmic gamma rays hit the Nasa satellite, Swift, orbiting the Earth. Within seconds of the detection, an alert was automatically sent to the University of WA’s Zadko Telescope. It swung into robotic action, taking images of the sky location in the constellation Ophiuchus. What emerged from the blackness, where nothing was seen before, was a rapidly brightening “optical transient”, which is something visible in the sky for a brief period of time. The event, named GRB170202, was a very energetic gamma ray burst (GRB). After less than a minute, the gamma rays switched off, and the GRB appeared as a brightening and then fading optical beacon.  The Zadko Telescope recorded the entire evolution of the optical outburst. During its biggest outburst, GRB170202 was equivalent in brightness to millions of stars shining together from the same location….Read More

Comments are closed.