January 29, 2011
Exploding Star Sets Distance Record
After 13 billion years, astronomers were able to see light from and explosion of a mega-star which is currently the most distant object ever detected. The gamma-ray burst(GRB) from the star is now allowing scientists to see back into the infancy of the universe. GRBs are the most violent explosions known to exist and they are accompanied by the death of a massive star. It is believed that the source star of the GRB has collapsed on itself to form a black hole.
The discovery, made by the NASA's satellite swift, is a great break through because the explosion occurred during the so-called "cosmic dark ages", which occured about 400,000 years after the Big Bang set the universe in motion.
During this period, free electrons and protons combined to form neutral atoms with the same number of positive and negative charges, resulting in a "dark" universe. It took 800 to 900 million years after the Big Bang for atoms and molecules to "re-ionize" and make the universe we see today.
Posted by mackenro at January 29, 2011 09:12 PM