Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A gamma-ray burst bonanza

25.03.2003


ESA’s Integral satellite is detecting gamma-ray bursts at a rate of nearly one per day, establishing itself as a key player in the hunt for these enigmatic explosions.



Launched in October 2002, Integral has just captured four bursts in the last four months right in the middle of its field of view. Such precision observations are providing scientists with a remarkable view of gamma-ray bursts, which occur randomly, fade within seconds, and yet shine with the intensity of millions upon millions of Suns.

"We made Integral to study supernovae, black holes, and neutron stars, yet already we see how this versatile satellite can contribute greatly to the field of gamma-ray bursts," says Chris Winkler, Integral Project Scientist.


Gamma-ray bursts are distant explosions of unknown origin. Scientists say that these bursts signal the birth of a brand new black hole, either through the death of a massive star or through the merger of two neutron stars or black holes. The bursts fade within seconds, never to appear in the same place twice, so scientists have been hard-pressed to study the bursts in detail.

Integral, with its four main instruments, helps locate bursts for follow-up study in two primary ways. The anti-coincidence system of one of its instruments (which usually helps eliminate background noise) can detect a gamma-ray burst almost anywhere in the sky and does so about every day.

Integral shares this information with other gamma-ray detectors that comprise the Interplanetary Network. Together, these simple detectors, which are located on spacecraft across the Solar System, pinpoint the location of a burst through triangulation. The process takes a little time, but within a few days, scientists have enough information to find the gamma-ray burst afterglow and study it.

About once a month, however, a gamma-ray burst goes off within Integral’s field of view. Integral has detected four bursts this way dead on. The most recent burst (GRB 030227) triggered very many follow-up observations. Integral can provide a unique perspective for those gamma-ray bursts caught directly in its field of view because it can view the bursts rapidly with four instruments. These instruments are an imager, a spectrometer, an X-ray monitor, and an optical camera. All of them observe the same region of the sky simultaneously.

The Integral team expects the satellite’s capability for detecting, locating, and relaying information about gamma-ray bursts will improve markedly in the coming months.

Integral team members discuss their gamma-ray burst findings so far in a press conference on 24 March 2003 at a meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society at Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, Canada.

Monica Talevi | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEMIVX8YFDD_FeatureWeek_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather
25.07.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht A new level of magnetic saturation
25.07.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>