Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:December 2nd, 2013 14:08 EST
NASA`s Telescopes Reveal Unprecedented Gamma Ray Burst

NASA`s Telescopes Reveal Unprecedented Gamma Ray Burst

By Ron G Anselm

There is a great deal of wondrous sites in this world and beyond and beautiful events that catch the human eye and leave the mind with a lasting memory in human terms will never forget. I have seen many beautiful sites when I have traveled around this country but none were more beautiful than when I moved from Miami, Florida to Spokane, Washington about fifteen years ago. What a trip? I had my old Hyundai Excel with about 100k miles on it, jumped in the driver`s seat and headed for the Great Northwest.

I traveled up Interstate 75 North through Florida, connected with I-10 West and put the pedal to the medal. I hit the back routes through the badlands of Texas and into the desert landscape of Arizona. One of the most intriguing sites of the trip was when I decided to go around the Grand Canyon and up the back roads to catch Interstate 15 North which was going to put me into Montana.

I was driving the dusty, sandy, and back road about sunset when I suddenly looked over my left should and caught the Grand Canyon at sunset. I literally lost my breath with the beauty and yet felt a little intimidated with the power of the beauty that the landscape portrayed. I then hit the back route though Utah and got the chance to see the shale mountainous rocks that were colored like a Mona Lisa painting. Even hitting the back road at night I could see the colors glimmering in the moon light like they were internally lit.

Yes, this land is full of many good things or like I call looking at a beautiful girl, eye candy to look at and enjoy. (not the girl, the sites) And there are even more of these things beyond our atmosphere and into the dark wonders of space. (not beautiful girls I don`t think they are out there in space but lots of different sites)

One of these mind intriguing events happened recently on April 27 when a blast of light from a dying star within one of the many distant galaxies took front stage with astronomers around the world. The explosion which is known in scientific terms as a gamma-burst and is designated as GRB 130427A was one of the brightest ever seen in science history.

NASA was once again on top of this event when a trio of their satellites which were working in sync with their ground based robotic telescopes captured the fine details of this gamma burst explosion and also gave scientists information that challenged the current theoretical understandings of how gamma-ray bursts work.

 Paul Hertz who is the Director of NASA`s Astrophysics Division in Washington commented on this, "We expect to see an event like this only once or twice a century, so we`re fortunate it happened when we had the appropriate collection of sensitive space telescopes with complementary capabilities available to see it," (Hertz, P.)

These types of gamma ray bursts are the most colorful and luminous in the universe. These bursts are thought to happen when the core of a large star runs out of nuclear fuel and collapses under its own weight and then forms a black hole.  The black whole then becomes a major power source by driving jets of particles that drill all the way through the collapsing star and into space. This all happens at speeds near the speed of light.

The gamma ray bursts are so powerful they are considered to be the most energetic form of light. When a new black hole forms there is a great deal of hot matter that surrounds it. The internal waves that are produced by collisions within the jet are thought to emit gamma-rays with energies in the million-electron-volt (MeV) range which equates to roughly 500,000 times more than the energy of visible light.

This type of shock wave that is emitted from the collision almost sounds like the same as a nuclear shock wave when (and hopefully never) an atomic bomb or nuclear war heads hits its target and miles around the blast you see an invisible force (the shock wave) taking everything out in its path.

When this gamma burst took place, NASA`s Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) aboard NASA`s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope captured the initial wave of gamma rays from GRB 130427A shortly after 3:47 a.m. EDT on April 27th. Within the first three seconds of the burst now known as the monster burst " proved to be brighter than almost any burst ever previously observed.

Rob Preece who is a Fermi team member at the University of Alabama in Huntsville commented on this by saying, "The spectacular results from Fermi GBM show that our widely accepted picture of MeV gamma rays from internal shock waves is woefully inadequate." (Preece, R.)

NASA`s swift gamma-ray Burst Mission detected the burst and quickly relayed the position of the burst to the ground-based observatories. NASA`s telescopes which are operated by Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico quickly moved and focused on the exact spot of this burst. The normal relationship between a burst and optical light combined with the high-energy gamma-rays outrageously defied expectations.

Sylvia Zhu who is a Fermi team member at the University of Maryland in College Park shed a little insight on this, "We thought the visible light for these flashes came from internal shocks, but this burst shows that it must come from the external shock, which produces the most energetic gamma-rays." (Zhu, S.)

The LAT detected GRB 130427A for about 20 hours, far longer than any previous burst. For a gamma-ray burst, it was relatively nearby. Its light traveled 3.8 billion years before arriving at Earth, about one-third the travel time for light from typical bursts (

Gianpiero, Tagliaferri who is also a Swift team member at the Brera Observatory in Merate, Italy commented on this, "Detailed observations by Swift and ground-based telescopes clearly show that GRB 130427A has properties more similar to typical distant bursts than to nearby ones."

So, if you are ever looking out your window or driving down a lonely road out in the middle of nowhere and you see a huge bright light diverting your minds attention to it, don`t take it for granted but stop and enjoy the view as your mind just went numb without conscienceless as that light grabbed your minds synopsis, sent electrodes through your head to try to comprehend what in the heck you are really looking at and tried to comprehend it by saying this is just  another beauty of another wondrous event in this world?



NASA Missions Study `Watershed` Cosmic Explosion in Unparalleled Detail, (, (, (, ( retrieved 2013.