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 Studying fundamental particles in materials
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

nachricht Seeing the quantum future... literally
16.01.2017 | University of Sydney

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: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>