Latest Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission Stories

2008-01-08 11:40:04

Using the powerful one-two combo of NASA's Swift satellite and the Gemini Observatory, astronomers have detected a mysterious type of cosmic explosion farther back in time than ever before. The explosion, known as a short gamma-ray burst (GRB), took place 7.4 billion years ago, more than halfway back to the Big Bang. "This discovery dramatically moves back the time at which we know short GRBs were exploding. The short burst is almost twice as far as the previous confirmed record holder," says...

2007-03-28 16:02:56

VLT Automatically Takes Detailed Spectra of Gamma-Ray Burst Afterglows Only Minutes After Discovery A time-series of high-resolution spectra in the optical and ultraviolet has twice been obtained just a few minutes after the detection of a gamma-ray bust explosion in a distant galaxy. The international team of astronomers responsible for these observations derived new conclusive evidence about the nature of the surroundings of these powerful explosions linked to the death of massive stars. At...

2007-03-08 15:27:24

In a series of landmark observations gathered over a period of four months, NASA's Swift satellite has challenged some of astronomers' fundamental ideas about gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), which are among the most extreme events in our universe. GRBs are the explosive deaths of very massive stars, some of which eject jets that can release in a matter of seconds the same amount of energy that the sun will radiate over its 10-billion-year lifetime. When GRB jets slam into nearby interstellar gas,...

2007-02-08 00:45:00

A new theory to explain the high-energy gamma-ray emissions from collapsing stars has been put forward by an international team of researchers. Their results will be published shortly in the Monthly Notices of the RAS. Long duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), first discovered in the 1970s, are the most explosive events in the Universe. Finding out what happens during these cataclysmic events is a major challenge, partly because they usually occur at the edge of the visible Universe and partly...

2006-10-06 05:25:00

Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite have observed two dozen recent star explosions, called supernovae, quickly after the event and have discovered never-before-seen properties, some of which run counter to prevailing theories. In one observation, they have confirmed the origin of Type Ia supernovae, an important class of explosions used to measure distances and dark energy. In other observations they have found new mechanisms to produce X-rays and ultraviolet light. The findings have...

2006-08-30 16:35:00

Unusual Gamma-Ray Burst Studied in Detail Astronomers, using ESO's Very Large Telescope, have for the first time made the link between an X-ray flash and a supernova. Such flashes are the little siblings of gamma-ray bursts (GRB) and this discovery suggests the existence of a population of events less luminous than 'classical' GRBs, but possibly much more numerous. "This extends the GRB-supernova connection to X-ray flashes and fainter supernovae, implying a common origin," said Elena Pian,...

2006-04-05 11:00:00

Almost 40 years have passed since top secret nuclear weapon warning satellites accidentally discovered bursts of high energy gamma rays coming from space. Although many thousands of gamma ray bursts (GRBs) have since been detected, the origin and nature of these bursts is still not well understood. One example of an unusual gamma ray burst occurred on 1 August 2005, when instruments on board the NASA-UK-Italy Swift spacecraft detected a bizarre GRB, which displayed unprecedented behaviour....

2006-03-08 18:55:49

PSU -- It came from the edge of the visible universe, the most distant explosion ever detected. In this week's issue of Nature, scientists at Penn State University and their U.S. and European colleagues discuss how this explosion, detected on 4 September 2005, was the result of a massive star collapsing into a black hole. The explosion, called a gamma-ray burst, comes from an era soon after stars and galaxies first formed, about 500 million to 1 billion years after the Big Bang. The...

2006-02-25 10:17:05

NASA -- Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite have detected a new kind of cosmic explosion. The event appears to be a precursor to a supernova, which is expected to reach peak brightness in about a week's time. UK astronomers and their colleagues around the world are watching closely as they have never seen an explosion of this kind before. Satellites and the world's largest telescopes are now trained on the sight, watching and waiting. The explosion has the trappings of a gamma-ray burst...

2006-02-23 17:10:00

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new kind of cosmic explosion has been spotted in Earth's celestial neighborhood, and amateur astronomers in the Northern Hemisphere might be able to see it next week, scientists reported on Thursday. The blast seemed a lot like a gamma-ray burst, the most distant and powerful type of explosion known to astronomers. But when scientists first detected it with NASA's Swift satellite on February 18, the explosion was about 25 times closer and lasted 100 times longer than...

Word of the Day
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'