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11 million year old gamma ray burst captured by Zadko Telescope

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posted on Jan, 10 2009 @ 11:02 AM
Melbourne (PTI): Astronomers in Australia have captured a massive gamma ray burst that happened 11 billion years ago -- before planet Earth was formed -- by the Zadko Telescope.

Lead astronomer Dr David Coward of the University of Western Australia said: "The image we recorded is a window in time, allowing us to peer into the distant past to a time when the universe was very exotic.

"We are discovering the richness of this transient universe, one that is filled with brief but extremely bright flashes. If a similar explosion happened in our galaxy today, it could result in mass extinctions on Earth.

"The explosion was about a billion times brighter than our sun, so we are lucky that they seem to occur more frequently in the very distant universe."

By comparing the image of the sky using NASA satellite location, the astronomers discovered a faint glow that should not be there, right at the location later reported by European Southern Observatory.

This glow, they found, is signature of a remarkable event -- the death of a star and the birth of a black hole.

In fact, the telescope was linked to a global network of telescopes in direct communication with NASA's Swift satellite ground station, which helped direct the Zadko Telescope to the sky-positions of gamma ray bursts.

University's Vice-Chancellor Prof Alan Robson said the Zadko Telescope put the institute on the threshold of an exciting venture that would create a new profile in robotic astronomy in Western Australia.

This is a very rare happening, death of a star and birth of a blackhole. Amazing. It says in the article that if something like this were to ever happen anywhere within our galaxy that it would cause a mass extinction on earth. Crazy.

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[edit on Sat Jan 10 2009 by Jbird]

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