Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gamma-Ray Bursts Give Awesome Afterglow

I have been enjoying the Scientific American web site today, and always take a look at the physics section - written to help a non-physicist get it! I wanted to put the spectacular image in my blog, with credit, but I am not sure if this is allowed. So visit the story to see it! Instead I have used an image I found on Google and credit goes to scubagrl.

Writer JR Minkel says, "A new study casts doubt on a long-standing belief about the power behind gamma-ray bursts, the most energetic explosions in the universe. Researchers have found that short gamma-ray bursts—those that last a couple of seconds or less—have brighter afterglows than the simple, reigning model of afterglow emission predicts. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are believed to occur when a star that has collapsed into a black hole or a neutron star whips a disk of gas and dust into a pair of powerful jets moving at nearly light speed. Like a lighthouse in fog, these so-called relativistic jets should cause whatever gas and dust that enshrouds the GRB source to glow brightly for hours after the burst's initial flash of energy."