Ah, back to something esoteric, if not very innocuous. If you have a low brain pain threshold, feel free to bail.
Gamma Ray Bursts are galactic events that we discovered when we started to look for nuclear explosions here on Earth. We launched some satellites, and trained them back on the Earth. They kept getting readings every couple days, though. Either nuclear bombs were going off all the time, or something else was causing the readings. So, if the events were celestial, they had to be caused by explosions in our own galaxy. Any further away, and the energy released would unbalance Einstein’s E=MC2 equation… It would take so much mass to create the explosions that the universe would be too “heavy”. So, some astronomers decided to map the explosions. Very tough (impossible) to do from Earth, so they launched another satellite. This one was specifically designed to read gamma ray bursts. Turns out, they come from all over the place, not just from our galaxy.
That was a BIG problem. We could see that these explosions were happening all over the place, but explosions that big aren’t covered by modern physics. Either, we didn’t understand something fundamental about the universe, or, well, nothing… we just didn’t understand why these explosions could be so big, but still be seen from all over the sky.
Drum roll!, New theories to the rescue! What if these aren’t really explosions after all? What if these are emissions like we see from black holes (postulated within the last decade by S Hawkins).
Check out a diagram HERE
That would solve the E=MC2 problems. Since the energy doesn’t radiate out in all directions, it doesn’t make nearly as much energy, and needs much less mass. Whew, everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Problem solved, right? Well, we just have to prove it now. That’s not so easy to do. These bursts only last for a day or two, and it’s hard to train a telescope on something that fast. These are people used to looking at things that happened 10 billion years ago and took 100 million years to happen. Oh, yeah, you can only detect gamma rays from space because of our atmosphere. So, here’s what they did. While the gamma ray detector was on alert, several telescopes around the world were put on stand-by. When the satellite detected a burst, they alerted all the telescopes. One day, one of them had a view of that part of the sky. It turns out that gamma bursts come from other galaxies and from nebulae like the Eagle Nebula. That’s the proof they were looking for.
Now, we can see that nebulae sometimes create very large, unstable stars. These stars burn 10-20 times faster, and are 100 times larger than our sun. When they die, they collapse into black holes. It’s this process that creates the gamma ray bursts.
So, we’ve solved a problem that’s been bugging us for almost 40 years. Schwing!
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