[personal profile] plug_in_baby57

See that big shiny thing up there? That's a gamma ray burst, the oldest and farthest away spotted, in fact. They are very special.

First there's two theories on what causes them. The first is that a star is so massive (over 100x the mass of the sun) collapses into a black hole, the second is the collision of two neutron stars to form a black hole. The first is thought to cause a gamma ray burst averaging 30 seconds long, the second a much shorter burst.

Gamma ray bursts are the most luminescent things in the universe. In the short few seconds they last, they release more energy than the sun will in it's entire ten billion year life span. It is thought that if one were to occur in our milky way galaxy, it would cause the mass extinction of all life on earth.

The gamma ray burst pictured lasted ten seconds and is the furthest thing from earth ever detected, and by that virtue, also the earliest thing known to have existed in the universe and it is thought that the star that caused it could have been one of the first stars to exist. It is so bright, that was visible for those ten seconds despite occuring 13 billion light years away.

Date: 2010-07-07 02:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leskuh.livejournal.com
This stuff always leaves me feeling so small and scared. And awed. A lot of stuff I guess.

Date: 2010-07-07 02:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] plug-in-baby57.livejournal.com

I like space. I dunno, it just reminds me that I can fuck up once in a while because it's not important really.

The Pale Blue Dot is worse though.

Date: 2010-07-07 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leskuh.livejournal.com

I have a love/hate thing with space and all the crazy shit out there. It's hella interesting and puts a lot of crap in perspective, but basically everything out there is just lying in wait to kill us all. Meteors and black holes and exploding stars and everything else.

Pale Blue Dot?

Date: 2010-07-07 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] plug-in-baby57.livejournal.com
You don't really have to worry about anything outside the solar system (aside from those gamma ray bursts). Still, almost everything in the solar system is waiting to kill us too so it's not really a consolation.

And the Pale Blue Dot is a picture of earth taken by a probe at the edge of the solar system. We're on that tiny blue dot in the yellow/orange band.


Date: 2010-07-07 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] plug-in-baby57.livejournal.com
Wow indeed. That dot is me, you and 6 billion other people. And in terms of the known universe, the picture isn't being taken from that far away either.



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