It came from the edge of the visible universe, the most distant explosion ever detected.
Shows the counting rate in the gamma-ray instrument on Swift for two gamma-ray bursts. The top panel is for the high redshift burst observed on September 4, 2005 (GRB 050904). The bottom panel shows a typical burst for comparison; it is the one Swift detected on March 26, 2005 (GRB 050326). GRB 050904 is fainter and much longer than typical.Image credit: Dr. Neil Gehrels
In this weeks issue of Nature, scientists at Penn State University and their U.S. and European colleagues discuss how this explosion, detected on 4 September 2005, was the result of a massive star collapsing into a black hole.
The explosion, called a gamma-ray burst, comes from an era soon after stars and galaxies first formed, about 500 million to 1 billion years after the Big Bang. The universe is now 13.7 billion years old, so the September burst serves as a probe to study the conditions of the early universe.
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