Christmas gamma ray burst explained?
Astronomers have come up with two competing theories to explain a mysterious cosmic explosion first detected by NASA's Swift observatory on Christmas Day 2010.
It was caused either by a novel type of supernova located billions of light-years away or a crash between a comet and a neutron star within our own galaxy, say researchers in two different papers published in Nature.
"What the Christmas burst seems to be telling us is that the family of gamma-ray bursts is more diverse than we fully appreciate," says Christina Thoene of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, the supernova study's lead author.
"It's only by rapidly detecting hundreds of them, as Swift is doing, that we can catch some of the more eccentric siblings."
The Christmas burst, also known as GRB 101225A, was discovered in the constellation Andromeda by Swift's Burst Alert Telescope at 1:38 pm EST on Dec. 25, 2010. Follow-up observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories failed to determine its distance.
The gamma-ray emission lasted at least 28 minutes, which is unusually long.
Darn it! I missed it!:( Interesting... But, This is the first I remember even hearing about this...