Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Liverpool Telescope catches first gamma ray burst

15.10.2004


On Wednesday 6 October 2004 a team of UK astronomers from Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Hertfordshire used the world’s largest robotic optical telescope, the Liverpool Telescope, to detect the optical light, or afterglow, from a Gamma Ray Burst (GRB).



"Gamma ray bursts are the most energetic explosions in the Universe and it is very exciting to have detected a Gamma Ray Burst afterglow for the first time with the Liverpool Telescope and then to watch it fade,” said Dr Carole Mundell, JMU’s Astrophysics Research Institute.

GRBs represent the most important astrophysical object since the discovery of quasars and pulsars. Since the first optical afterglow of a GRB was only discovered in 1997, there are many unanswered questions about their nature remaining.


The Liverpool Telescope is a 2m optical and infrared telescope that stands 2400m above sea level on a mountain top on the Canary Island of La Palma. It took its first images of the sky last year and is specially designed to respond very rapidly to notification of cosmic explosions by X-ray and gamma-ray satellites such as NASA’s HETE-II and soon-to-be-launched Swift.

Dr Nial Tanvir, University of Hertfordshire said: "We expect the Liverpool Telescope to make a vital contribution to our understanding of the origin and physics of Gamma Ray Bursts due to its unique combination of size and rapid robotic response."

Gamma ray bursts are the most luminous transient objects in the Universe and are thought to be caused when a massive star in a distant galaxy reaches the end of its life, collapsing to form a black hole and, in the process, ejecting a jet of material at ultra-high velocities. The so-called optical afterglow is thought to originate from light emitted when this material crashes into the gas surrounding the star.

In the first few minutes after the initial burst of gamma rays the optical and infrared light carries the clue to the origin of these catastrophic explosions but has been difficult to capture with traditional telescopes.

Mundell continued: "The Liverpool Telescope is specially designed to catch this early light and probe the physics of these objects at the earliest possible times."

JMU’s new images show the sensitivity of the Liverpool telescope and demonstrate the relative ease by which it is able to detect even faint afterglows, a unique feature compared to other robotic telescopes.

This robotic capability enabled JMU’s astrophysicists to take a number of images, in 4 different colour bands, over a period of about 4-6 hours. When combined with brightness measurements made by other international telescopes, JMU’s measurements will be important in constraining the colour evolution of the afterglow, the break point in the light curve and hence the energetics of the explosion.

Shonagh Wilkie | alfa
Further information:
http://telescope.livjm.ac.uk/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>