ABOVE: Artist impression of a gamma ray burst.
SOURCE: NASA/Swift/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith and John Jones
THE MOST POWERFUL BLASTS KNOWN TO REACH EARTH AND THEY ARE DETECTED AT LEAST ONCE A DAY. A 'CLOSE', EARTH-FACING GAMMA BURST WOULD EASILY CAUSE EITHER A RAPID OR A SLOW EXTINCTION OF LIFE ON OUR PLANET.
ABOVE: Image depicting two colliding neutron stars resulting in SHORT GRBs. Image Credit: NASA
AS OF 4:44 AM, CDST, JULY 27, 2017, what was ASSUMED to be one of the brightest gamma-ray bursts ever observed was also thought to be aimed directly at Earth from the nearby Andromeda Galaxy.
Some major medfia like Newsweek took the report and ran with it.
This would have been called a CLOSE Gama Ray Burst (CGRB), "close" even though such a burst would have taken about 2 1/2 million years to reach us.
When the first excited reports were made public, before this was "officially" confirmed as a GRB, several media articles reported that this would be the closest such burst to date.
IF this had been a GRB, Earth would have been hit by gravitational waves, which would prove this was a GRB.
Quite unfortunately, the best detector for observing gravitational waves is not currently online. The U.S.' only such detector of that type event, which should have been online to record this, the 'Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory' (LIGO), is currently being upgraded.
All is not lost, however, as neutrino detectors, such as Antarctica’s IceCube detector should have been able to record resulting neutrinos from a GRB this 'close'.
THIS TIME, IT WASN'T WHAT WAS EXPECTED AND INITIALLY REPORTED.
With apologies, Phil Evans from the Swift team clarified that usually such false positives are weeded out and the public never made aware of them because they (obviously) don’t get reported when Swift doesn’t find an afterglow.
However, he explained, this time a false trigger coincidentally lined up with an actual X-ray source, and we didn’t have access to the data to re-analyze. As a result, astronomers had to work with only the Swift report."You’ve been given a brief insight into the decisions and challenges we have to face daily. So while it’s a bit embarrassing to have to show you one of the times where we got it wrong, it’s also good to show you the reality of science. For every exciting news-worthy discovery, there’s a lot of hard graft, effort, false alarms, mistakes, excitement and disappointment. It’s what we live off. It’s science," Evans said.
WHY DID THE INTERNET 'BLOW UP' FROM SUCH AN ANNOUNCEMENT?
BECAUSE GRBs CAN BE AND PROBABLY HAVE BEEN THE REASON FOR AT LEAST ONE EXTINCTION EVENT ON OUR WEE BLUE MARBLE OF A PLANET.
BECAUSE GRBs CAN WIPE OUT EVERYTHING IN THEIR DIRECT PATH, AND BECAUSE A GRB RECENTLY STRIPPED AWAY PART OF OUR OWN ATMOSPHERE, AS I REPORTED IN A BLOG ENTRY <HERE>.
NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope first detected the gamma-ray emission from GRB160625B.
Soon afterward, the ground-based MASTER-IAC telescope, a part of Russia's MASTER robotic telescope network located at the Teide Observatory in Spain's Canary Islands, followed up with optical light observations while the prompt phase was still active.
MASTER-IAC gathered critical data on the proportion of polarized optical light relative to the total light produced by the prompt phase. Because synchrotron radiation is one of only a limited number of phenomena that can create polarized light, these data provided the crucial link between synchrotron radiation and the prompt phase of GRB160625B.
A magnetic field can also influence how much polarized light is emitted as time passes and the burst evolves. Because the researchers were able to analyze polarization data that spanned nearly the entire time-frame of the burst -- a rare achievement -- they were able to discern the presence of a magnetic field and track how it changed as GRB160625B progressed.
"There is very little data on polarized emission from gamma-ray bursts," said Kutyrev, who is also an associate scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "This burst was unique because we caught the polarization state at an early stage. This is hard to do because it requires a very fast reaction time and there are relatively few telescopes with this capability.
This paper shows how much can be done, but to get results like this consistently, we will need new rapid-response facilities for observing gamma-ray bursts."
GRBs, ALONG WITH THEIR GRAVITY WAVE SHOCKS, ARE BECOMING A "MAJOR BIG DEAL", BUT WHO WILL FUND THE NECESSARY INSTRUMENTS AND TEAMS TO STUDY THEM AND PERHAPS COME UP WITH SOME SORT OF EARLY WARNING SYSTEM?
THEY ARE CURRENTLY NOT PREDICTABLE IN LENGTH OR IN ANY OTHER WAY.
Dying Supergiant Stars Implicated in Hours-long Gamma-Ray Bursts
APRIL 16, 2013
"Three unusually long-lasting stellar explosions discovered by NASA's Swift satellite represent a previously unrecognized class of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Two international teams of astronomers studying these events conclude that they likely arose from the catastrophic death of supergiant stars hundreds of times larger than the sun
Two NASA satellites that monitor the sky for such phenomena, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission, detected the GRB event. These telescopes slewed quickly to the location of the burst to make observations and also immediately relayed the GRB’s position to several automated ground-based telescopes, which then began their observations."
The GRB FROM magnetar SGR 1806-20 reported in 2005 (happened in 2004) was the third such event ever recorded along with two others that were noted in 1979 and 1998 (Mazets et al. 1979 ; Hurley et al. 1999 ).
THE SWIFT MISSION WAS LAUNCHED IN 2004.
Dec. 17, 2004: Swift's first burst, in Crater, is eight-second-long GRB 041217.
BY 2015, IT HAD IDENTIFIED 1000 GAMMA RAY BURSTS, SOME OF LONG DURATION, SOME SHORT.
FROM 3 EVENTS TO 1,000 IN 10 YEARS.
IMAGINE WHAT WE MISSED BEFORE WE COULD IDENTIFY THEM.
WELL, SWIFT (NSA) HASN'T UPDATED THE SWIFT WEBSITE SINCE 2012, AND THE LAST ENTRY THERE WAS TO ANNOUNCE THEIR 1000th FIND OF A GRB IN OCTOBER, 2015, BUT THEY "ESTIMATED" THEY WERE FINDING ABOUT 90 GRBs PER YEAR.
BUT IN OTHER PLACES, LIKE AFTER THEY FOUND THEIR 500th GRB, SWIFT STATED THEY WERE FINDING 1 OR 2 PER DAY!
IN A BOOK PUBLISHED IN 2015 THEY ALSO STATED "AT LEAST ONE PER DAY".
NASA OFFERS THIS DISCLAIMER ON THE OUTDATED SWIFT SITE: Disclaimer: This material is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at the time of publication, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information, and parts may not function in current web browsers.
I HAVE TO WONDER WHY SOMETHING THIS IMPORTANT IS NOT UPDATED DAILY ON AN EASY-TO-FIND WEBSITE APART FROM THE HUGE NASA MAIN SITE.
WHERE ARE THE COLLECTED DATA AND HOW CAN WE ACCESS THAT?
THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES TELL US HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO KNOW.
Possible Role of Gamma Ray Bursts on Life Extinction in the Universe (Physical Review Letters)
Gamma-ray burst 'hit Earth in 8th Century-BBC
ALSO, Hambaryan, V.V.; Neuhauser, R. (2013). "A Galactic short gamma-ray burst as cause for the 14C peak in AD 774/5". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 430
A PDF DOWNLOAD: Gamma-Ray Bursts as a Threat to Life on Earth
Supernovae and Gamma-Ray Bursts: The Greatest Explosions Since the Big Bang
"All this goes to show that the Earth does not exist in splendid isolation," says Inan. "We now know that the Earth's physical environment is affected not only by our own sun but by energy originating from distant parts of our universe."
Cosmic energy burst disturbs Earth's atmosphere
Sept. 29, 1998: On the night of August 27th Earth's upper atmosphere was bathed briefly by an invisible burst of gamma- and X-ray radiation. This pulse - the most powerful to strike Earth from beyond the solar system ever detected - had a significant effect on Earth's upper atmosphere, report Stanford researchers. It is the first time that a significant change in Earth's environment has been traced to energy from a distant star.
"It was as if night was briefly turned into day in the ionosphere," says Umran Inan, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford and head of the research group that observed the atmospheric disturbance. The ionosphere is the portion of the atmosphere between 60 to 80 kilometers in altitude that plays an important role in radio communications.
So it is quite likely that the range of high-powered radio stations, which usually reach much farther at night due to lower ionospheric activity levels, was suddenly reduced to their lower, daytime ranges during the burst's five-minute duration, he says.
The characteristics of the unusual gamma-ray burst, the nature of the unusual X-ray star that appears to be its source, and the dramatic effect that it had on the ionosphere are the subjects of a National Aeronautics and Space Agency space science update being held on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m. ET at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Kevin Hurley at University of California-Berkeley has used satellite information to calculate the total energy that an X-ray star, called SGR 1900+14, must have released to produce the August 27 burst. He calculates that, if the energy could be harnessed, it would be enough to power all of human civilization on Earth for a billion billion years. Of course, only a tiny fraction of this energy reached Earth.
According to space agency scientists, the radiation reaching Earth had an intensity slightly less than that of a dental X-ray. Both gamma rays and X-rays cause ionization directly, by stripping electrons from atoms and leaving them electrically charged. Nevertheless, the burst had a remarkable impact on the ionosphere.
"It is amazing that such a burst could produce ionization levels similar to those produced by all the radiation coming from the sun," Inan says. "When we put this information into our mathematical models it may provide us with important new insights about how the ionosphere behaves in response to sudden ionization changes."
WAIT! THEY WANT US TO ACCEPT THAT RADIATION LEVELS LESS THAN A DENTAL X-RAY DESTROYED PART OF OUR UPPER ATMOSPHERE, YET IS MORE POWERFUL THAN ALL THE RADIATION COMING FROM THE SUN SINCE IT HAS BEEN SHINING DOWN ON US?
THIS DOES NOT MAKE LOGICAL SENSE, DOES IT?
SINCE SUCH A COSMIC BURST AS THIS , CALLED THE "MOST POWERFUL IN THE UNIVERSE", CARRIES MORE RADIATION THAN THE SUN HAS EMITTED IN ITS LIFETIME, RIPPED LOOSE SOME OF OUR IONOSPHERE, "BATHED EARTH IN LESS RADIATION THAN A DENTAL X-RAY", WHY THEN DON'T DENTAL X-RAYS DESTROY THE PLANET, SINCE THEY ARE SAID TO BE "MORE POWERFUL" THAN A GAMMA RAY BURST IN THAT ARTICLE?
IF A GRB WITH "LESS RADIATION THAN A DENTAL X-RAY" CAN CAUSE MASS EXTINCTION ON EARTH AND ALL POINTS FROM ITS ORIGIN, WHAT THE HELL IS SOMETHING LIKE FUKUSHIMA CAUSING ?
THE BURST KNOWN AS GRB160625B WAS MORE POWERFUL THAN THE SUN.
THE SUN FRIES HUMAN SKIN IF WE STAY OUT IN IT TOO LONG, CAN HEAT THE EARTH TO TEMPERATURES OVER 100 DEGREES FROM 93 MILLION MILES AWAY, WHOSE RAYS CAN BE HARNESSED TO POWER CITIES, COOK MEAT, RUN MACHINERY, BUT THIS GRB, ALL GRBs ARE MORE POWERFUL BY FAR AND YET DO NOTHING TO EARTH TO SPEAK OF, IF WE ACCEPT WHAT THAT JUST STATED???
WHAT AM I MISSING HERE?
"LESS THAN A DENTAL X-RAY" BUT "MORE POWERFUL THAN THE SUN"?
MY MIND WON'T WRAP AROUND THAT.
The nature and intensity of the Aug. 27 gamma ray burst supports the theory that SGR 1900+14 is an exotic object called a magnetar predicted by Robert Duncan of the University of Texas-Austin and Christopher Thompson of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
A magnetar is a special kind of neutron star. A neutron star is the collapsed core that is left behind when a massive star explodes.
It is extremely dense, weighing more than the sun but squeezed into a ball less than 12 miles in diameter.
A magnetar differs from an ordinary neutron star by possessing a magnetic field far greater than any other object known. Its field would be so intense that a steady X-ray glow would emanate from its surface and periodic starquakes would produce bursts of gamma rays and occasional cataclysmic flares like the one observed on August 27.
READ ALSO <HERE>.
"All GRBs observed to date have occurred well outside the Milky Way galaxy and have been harmless to Earth. However, if a GRB were to occur within the Milky Way and its emission were beamed straight towards Earth, the effects could be harmful and potentially devastating for the ecosystems. Currently, orbiting satellites detect on average approximately one GRB per day.
The closest observed GRB as of March 2014 was GRB 980425, located 40 megaparsecs (130,000,000 ly) away (z=0.0085) in an SBc-type dwarf galaxy.
GRB 980425 was far less energetic than the average GRB and was associated with the Type Ib supernova SN 1998bw.
A GRB AIMED DIRECTLY AT EARTH FROM A NEARER SOURCE WOULD VERY QUICKLY EVISCERATE OUR EARTH'S PROTECTIVE OZONE LAYER.
IN THE ABOVE-LINKED ARTICLE, NASA STATES THAT A GRB COULD HAVE WIPED OUT ANY ALIEN LIFE WE MIGHT HAVE FOUND ON OTHER PLANETS.
BUT WHEN ONE HITS EARTH, IT'S NOT AS BAD AS A DENTAL X-RAY?
SORRY, I JUST CAN'T GET OVER THAT PHRASE.
BTW, FROM 2010, "A leading researcher of dental radiation has found that depending on the model and setting, cone-beam scanners emit 4 to 30 times as much as a conventional dental X-ray."
BUT BACK TO GAMMA BURSTS...
Lead author Dr Eleonora Troja, of the University of Maryland, said: “Gamma-ray bursts are catastrophic events, related to the explosion of massive stars 50 times the size of our sun.
“If you ranked all the explosions in the universe based on their power, GRBs would be right behind the Big Bang.
“In a matter of seconds, the process can emit as much energy as a star the size of our Sun would in its entire lifetime.”
GRB 160625B WAS POINTED STRAIGHT AT EARTH.
There are 9 abstracts from studies on this one gamma-ray burst.
SEE: GRBOX reference archive: GRB 160625B
DENTAL X-RAY B.S. ASIDE, IT WAS A WAKE-UP CALL FOR NASA AND OTHER SCIENTISTS AROUND THE WORLD.
SOMETHING FROM LIGHT YEARS AWAY COULD "REACH OUT AND TOUCH" EARTH, WITH POSSIBLY FATAL RESULTS.
ABOVE IMAGE: Wavelet analysis of the vector magnetic data provided by the CHAMP satellite on 2004 December 27. [RIGHT-click on the photo and choose 'open in new tab' if it will not load for you]
The main characteristic times of the flare from SGR 1806-20, that is, the precursor (142 seconds before the flare), outburst, and the end of the modulated signal (380 seconds after the flare), are marked with yellow, red and green circles, respectively.
From top to bottom, wavelet power spectra of north (X), east (Y) and vertical downward (Z) components of the magnetic field are shown. Longitude and local time (LT) are given at the beginning of the considered time interval.
Strong random fluctuations in all three components can be seen at almost all frequency ranges and for the largest part of the time interval presented here. The variation of satellite latitude with time is given in the fourth panel.
[Copyright © 2016 The Royal Astronomical Society -- presented here for educational purposes only]
Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are the brightest electromagnetic blasts known to occur in the Universe, and can originate from the collapse of the most massive types of stars or from the collision of two neutron stars. Supernovae are stellar explosions that also can send harmful radiation hurtling towards Earth. Both GRBs and supernovae are usually observed in distant galaxies, but can pose a threat if they occur closer to home, where they can strip the Earth’s upper atmosphere of its protective ozone layer leaving life exposed to harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.
A new paper, titled “Ground-Level Ozone Following Astrophysical Ionizing Radiation Events – An Additional Biological Hazard?” published in the journal Astrobiology took a look at the ramifications of a nearby GRB or supernova and the effects on life. The research was funded by the Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology element of the NASA Astrobiology Program.
GRB 020813 was a gamma-ray burst (GRB) that was detected on 13 August 2002 at 02:44 UTC. A gamma-ray burst is a highly luminous flash associated with an explosion in a distant galaxy and producing gamma rays, the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation.
GRB 020813 was detected by multiple instruments on the High Energy Transient Explorer. The burst lasted approximately 125 seconds. The initial position was estimated to be at a right ascension of 19h 46m 38s and a declination of −19° 35′ 16″.
In less than two hours after the burst had been detected, optical observations of the region were made with the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope which reveal the burst's optical afterglow.
(Source: Li, Weidong (13 August 2002). "GRB020813: optical afterglow". GCN Circulars. 1473.)
In the days following the event, observations were made by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which detected a fading X-ray afterglow. The redshift for this event was approximately z = 1.254.
(SOURCE: "The signature of supernova ejecta in the X-ray afterglow of the γ-ray burst 011211". Nature. 416 (6880): 512–515.)
BTW, when thinking about how far and how fast this gamma burst traveled, light travels at "the speed of light" which has been measured to be about 300,000 km/s (kilometers per second) or 186,000 m/s (miles per second) in empty space.
Doing the math, a Light-year is 9.46 trillion km, or 5.88 trillion miles. Trillion is 10^12.
There is not much to collide with in empty space, so light travels fastest in empty space.
Why does light travel at JUST 300,000 km/s and no faster?
That's a tougher question...it does link in to other physics...but mainly, like so many other things, scientists don't know, they just measure it.
ESO Telescopes Observe Swift Satellite’s 1000th Gamma-ray Burst
Long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs)
GRBs are named after the date on which they are discovered: the first two digits being the year, followed by the two-digit month and two-digit day and a letter with the order they were detected during that day. The letter 'A' is appended to the name for the first burst identified, 'B' for the second, and so on. For bursts before the year 2010 this letter was only appended if more than one burst occurred that day.
The duration of a burst is typically measured by T90, the duration of the period which 90 percent of the burst's energy is emitted. Recently some otherwise "short" GRBs have been shown to be followed by a second, much longer emission episode that when included in the burst light curve results in T90 durations of up to several minutes: these events are only short in the literal sense when this component is excluded.
This category is for gamma-ray bursts with duration greater than two seconds.
FOR ANY WHO MAY EXPERIENCE DIFFICULTY ACCESSING THE LATEST STUDY FOR GRB 160625B, JUST CLICK THE LINK BELOW:
THE FOLLOWING IS ALSO QUITE INTERESTING AS PERTAINS TO THE EFFECTS ON LIFE FROM SUCH BURSTS, THOUGH I SUSPECT IT IS INTENDED TO "CALM THE MASSES" A BIT.
Effects of Gamma Ray Bursts in Earth’s Biosphere
WHEN I READ SUCH ARTICLES FROM NASA AND OTHERS ABOUT THINGS FEW ARE AWARE OF THAT THREATEN US FROM "OUT THERE", OTHER THINGS LIKE WHO WINS AN ELECTION, WHO HAS THE MOST MONEY, WHICH COUNTRY HAS MORE NUKES SORT OF PALE IN COMPARISON.
OUR EARTH IS A FRAGILE LITTLE 'SPACESHIP' AND WE'RE ALL ALONG FOR THE RIDE.
WHAT AFFECTS ONE NATION AS TO SOME CATACLYSMIC EVENT AFFECTS US ALL SOMEHOW.
IT'S GOOD TO BE REMINDED HOW TINY WE ARE IN THE VAST UNIVERSE AND THAT THINGS FAR MORE POWERFUL THAN ALL THE ARMIES OF EARTH EXIST OUTSIDE THE ABILITY OF MAN TO CONTROL THEM.
THAT PUTS THINGS INTO A WHOLE NEW PERSPECTIVE, YES?