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 Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte
17.08.2018 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

nachricht Protecting the power grid: Advanced plasma switch for more efficient transmission
17.08.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

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: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>