Re: Gamma Ray Bursters
Fri, 2 May 1997 11:18:23 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 5/2/97 12:24:27 AM, John Clark wrote:

>Just a few weeks ago for the
>first time, a very faint optical and X ray counterpart to a Gamma ray Burst
>was detected. A satellite found Gamma rays of enormous magnitude, at exactly

>the same time another detector in space with better resolution found a weak
>X ray source. The Hubble telescope was quickly turned to the spot and at the

>very limits of its sensitivity found a extremely faint optical dot in a
>Galaxy several billion light years away, 2 days later the dot was gone.
>It's incredible, this sucker was big, for the Gamma rays to be as bright as
>they were this far away, it must have been HUGE. I wouldn't want to be in
>the same Galaxy with a Gamma ray source of that intensity, even if it only
>lasted a minute.

Wow, I'm surprised this didn't make it to the news. There's been discussion
over whether GRB are local or extragalatic events (extragalatic having had
the preference) and this seems pretty good proof that they are extragalactic
and really big and nasty too. It's been suspected that they were collapsing
binary neutron stars or something like that and this is evidence to back that
up. I don't want to trivialize what's on the news, but the existence of true
monsters like that is big news.

Just think - there could be one about to happen right next door and we
wouldn't even know ...