Light from 12-billion-year old star`s explosion detected

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 15:12

Washington: Researchers have detected the light from a star that exploded more than 12 billion years ago.

At its death it glowed so brightly that it outshone its entire galaxy by a million times.

This brilliant flash travelled across space for 12.7 billion years to our planet Earth that hadn`t even existed at the time of the explosion.

By analyzing this light, astronomers learned about a galaxy that was otherwise too small, faint and far away for even the Hubble Space Telescope to see.

"This star lived at a very interesting time, the so-called dark ages just a billion years after the Big Bang," lead author Ryan Chornock of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), said.

"In a sense, we`re forensic scientists investigating the death of a star and the life of a galaxy in the earliest phases of cosmic time," he added.

The star announced its death with a flash of gamma rays, an event known as a gamma-ray burst (GRB). GRB 130606A was classified as a long GRB since the burst lasted for more than four minutes.

It was detected by NASA`s Swift spacecraft on June 6th. Chornock and his team quickly organized follow-up observations by the MMT Telescope in Arizona and the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii.

The findings are published online in The Astrophysical Journal.


First Published: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 15:12

comments powered by Disqus