Monday, December 16, 2013

The Progenitors of Gamma-Ray Bursts:

As we"ve discussed a lot recently, gamma ray bursts have the tendency to be just as spectacular as supernova blasts, with none of the glory. Yet comparatively, our amount of knowledge about them remains decidedly small. Especially so when dealing with how they form. The firsts of these high energy events were brought to our attention by the Vela-5B Satellite in the early 1970"s. At the time of their discovery, we had a difficult time pinpointing their origin, but over the course of the next few years, we were successful in determining that the events were non-local (meaning, they didn"t originated in, or around the sun). Eventually, it was thought that the detected gamma ray-bursts, or GRBs (what these events were eventually called) had a luminosity of about 10^39 ergs, we now know that this is ~13 magnitudes smaller than the actual intensity. Due to the much lower assumed intensity value, astronomers came to the conclusion that the GRB"s may take place in the accretion disk around a collapsing star.

It"s never THAT easy though. Is it? See how our views have changed over the years:

Image Credit: NASA (Unedited Version:

No comments:

Post a Comment