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Fw: NUFOIA: Blast Traveled 9 Billion Light Years Astronomers Caught It OnCamera

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  • Jeroen Kumeling
    ... From: Ndunlks@aol.com To: undisclosed-recipients:; Subject: NUFOIA: Blast Traveled 9 Billion Light Years Astronomers Caught It OnCamera Date: vrijdag, 2.
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 1999
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      From: Ndunlks@...
      To: undisclosed-recipients:;
      Subject: NUFOIA: Blast Traveled 9 Billion Light Years Astronomers Caught
      It OnCamera
      Date: vrijdag, 2. april 1999 8:10

      An Almost-As-Big Bang

      Gamma-Ray Burst Biggest Explosion Ever Seen
      Blast Traveled 9 Billion Light Years
      Astronomers Caught It On Camera

      WASHINGTON

      AP
      Gamma-ray burst, artist's rendering

      CBS A recent gamma-ray burst was the biggest explosion ever seen, second
      only to the "big bang" that gave birth to the universe, astronomers said
      Thursday.

      The burst of energy, caught on camera with the help of a complex link of
      satellites, telescopes and e-mail, came from the far reaches of the
      universe,
      sending light, X-rays and radio waves two-thirds of the way across the
      universe.

      It looked so intense because it came as a beam of energy, rather than in an

      explosion in all directions, the international team of astronomers said in
      a
      series of reports.

      The explosion-probably caused by the birth of a black hole, or by the
      collision of two massive stars known as neutron stars-was so enormously
      powerful that it projected its energy across nine billion years worth of
      time
      and space.

      Gamma ray bursts have long mystified astronomers. First seen by accident in

      the late 1960s by U.S. scientists looking for Soviet nuclear weapons tests
      in
      space, they come without warning. Only the fading afterglow could be
      detected
      in the past.

      But thanks to a system set up by NASA and European scientists, on the
      morning
      of January 23 orbiting detectors caught the burst. Within seconds a
      computer
      was signaled that in turn woke up an observatory in New Mexico and caught
      the
      explosion on film.

      "It's like the difference between watching two cars collide and coming on
      the
      accident scene several hours later," said physics professor Carl Akerlof of

      the University of Michigan.

      What they saw was extraordinarily bright. "If you had been gazing at that
      spot with binoculars, you would have seen a 'star' appear, brighten, and
      fade
      within minutes, an unbelievably violent event from the very edge of our
      universe," said Galen Gisler, an astrophysicist at Los Alamos National
      Laboratory in New Mexico.

      In a series of papers published in the journals Nature and Science, the
      teams
      of scientists described what they saw.

      Shrinivas Kulkarni, an astronomer at the California Institute of
      Technology,
      and colleagues looked at the "redshift" of the star-which tells how much
      the
      light has faded and changed as it traveled trillions of miles to reach the
      Earth.

      The redshift is 1.6, which means the burst was very far away and thus
      extremely powerful.

      "It is 70 percent of the age of the universe," Kulkarni said. "So if you
      think the universe is 12 billion years old, this is about nine billion
      years
      old."

      That also makes it nine billion light years away-a light year being equal
      to
      the distance light travels in one year at a speed of 189,000 miles a
      second,
      or a total of about 5.9 trillion miles. This shocked astronomers.

      "The object would be so bright that for the 100 seconds it was on, it
      outshone the whole universe, which to me is an amazing concept," Kulkarni
      said.

      "We were stunned," Caltech's George Djorgovski added in a statement. "This
      was much further than we expected."
      Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All Rights Reserved.


      � 1999, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved.


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