Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Biggest Explosion


On September 15, 2008 the Fermi Space Telescope spotted the brightest gamma ray burst ever seen. A supernova can briefly outshine an entire galaxy, and GRB 080916C had the power of 9,000 supernovae. The GRB appeared in the constellation Carina, and dates from 12.2 billion years ago. Given an estimated age of 13.7 billion years for the Universe, this blast dates from only 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang.

The image afove combines data from Fermi's UV/optical and X-ray telescopes. Only a massive Black Hole could produce this much energy. Size of primordial Black Hole is limited by a "horizon distance" that light can travel in a given time. Once it was thought that primordial Black Holes could only be tiny, due to a limited speed of light. Immense explosions like GRB 080916C are more indicators that c was not always the same value as today.

The Fermi telescope searches for gamma rays, the most powerful particles in the Universe. The telescope was formerly called GLAST, before being named for Enrico Fermi. We could also name it for physicist Bruce Banner, known for his work on gamma rays. Just don't get him angry...

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lubos says that FERMI will rule out all theories of Quantum Gravity except string theory, because he seems to be under the impression that all other ideas on Quantum Gravity support the Loopy predictions. Perhaps he should read some of your older blog posts.

Remote Kea

1:24 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Again I appreciate your patience with the world. Intuition tells me that he is not really as bad as his online personality. I think he has read some of those posts.

3:54 AM  
Anonymous explosion said...

This is an amazing phenomenon, in my opinion. And it's also amazing the fact that we have the necessary means to understand and explore such a phenomenon.

5:50 AM  

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