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The Engineer
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Gamma Ray Mystery - Where's the Supernova?

12/20/2006 4:55 PM

On June 14, the Burst Alert Telescope on NASA's Swift satellite was belted by gamma rays, the first warning that one of the most powerful explosions in the universe was taking place as a star went through its death throes. Within moments or hours a host of astronomers had trained telescopes all over the world on a galaxy 1.6 billion light-years away (relatively close in the cosmic scheme of things) toward the constellation Indus in anticipation of an incipient supernova--the brilliant demise of a massive star. As the flash lingered for 102 seconds, it fell into the "long" category of gamma-ray bursts typically associated with such epic stellar explosions. But even after months of monitoring no supernova appeared, bursting current theories for such events and potentially revealing a new type of stellar doom.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleid=A137CC64-E7F2-99DF-302F0CF971EF8913

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