NASA’s Swift satellite detected a strange anomalous explosion on March 28th that emitted a high energy gamma-ray which lasted for 11 days. Usually, gamma-ray energy bursts last for only a few hours. The gamma-ray energy pulse also has cyclically increased and decreased in energy level, adding to its unusual behavior.

The star, with a particularly uninspiring name of (GRB) 110328A, lies in the Draco Constellation and has been under observation by a series of NASA and ESA spacecraft, including Swift, Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Andrew Fruchter, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, suggests that the energy release could have resulted from a star being torn to pieces by a black hole. As the star material is sucked into the black hole at near the speed of light, X-rays and gamma-rays are emitted from the destroyed matter, and these bursts just happen to point directly at Earth as it spirals out of the black hole.

A Hubble Space Telescope image from April 4th adds to this explanation, showing that the explosion took place 3.8 billion light-years from Earth, near the location of a supermassive black hole which lies at the centre of the galaxy. Our own galaxy, like many others, has a super massive black hole at its centre. The black hole at the centre of the Milky Way has a mass four million times that of our sun.

An alternative explanation given by Stan Woosley, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, suggests that the gravitational collapse of a giant star could create a black hole at its centre. The central star mass then collapses to form a black hole, followed by the outer layers being sucked in over a period of days, thereby releasing the gamma-ray energy in longer bursts than usual.

Regardless of the mechanism to create the gamma-ray bursts, it again shows what enormous energy and wondrous sights the heavens hold for us mere mortals on Earth.

Via Science News & NASA

Via:www.greenmuze. соm

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