Scientists using the NASA Swift satellite and several ground-based telescopes have detected the most distant explosion yet: a gamma-ray burst from the edge of the visible Universe.
This powerful burst, probably marking the death of a massive star as it collapsed into a black hole, was detected on 4th September 2005. The burst comes from an era soon after stars and galaxies first formed, less than a billion years after the Big Bang.
"How a single star could generate so much energy as to be seen across the entire Universe remains an unanswered question," said Dr Nial Tanvir from the University of Hertfordshire, who joined with other scientists on four continents in using a multitude of telescopes to track the burst and its afterglow for days as the burst gradually faded. "The fact that we can see it may now provide us with a new tool to help understand those very early times."
Anita Heward | alfa
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