Tuesday, April 28, 2009

GRB 090423

GRB 090423 photographed by Gemini Observatory

The exploding star GRB 090423 was detected by NASA's Swift space telescope on 23 of April 2009.

It has red shift of 8.2 which translates into the distance of 13.035 billion light-years. This makes it the most distant and oldest star ever observed by us humans.

Light began to travel from the massive explosion when the entire universe was only about 630 million years old counting from the Beginning.

Swift Gamma Ray Burst telescope. NASA

Swift was launched into orbit by NASA in 2004. Is is a very smart instrument. It has three telescopes. One of them is just a sensor, an Alerter. It senses the massive gamma rays that come towards earth as a burst from exploding stars. The entire satellite swiftly turns towards the source of the radiation aiming both the X ray and the ultraviolet/visible light telescopes at the same exact point. Swift also alerts ground stations around the Earth that are participating in the program and they also move automatically towards the source of the massive gamma ray burst GRB.

After the warning wave of GRB light coming from the star may be visible for some days only and then dies out forever. There is no time to be wasted.

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