Gamma Ray Bursters

John K Clark (
Thu, 1 May 1997 21:31:11 -0700 (PDT)


On Wed, 30 Apr 1997 Michael Lorrey <> Wrote:

>Astronomers have recently discovered a huge jet of antimatter in the
>Milky Way's northern axial region.[...] The importance of this
>discovery is that we now have direct observation of a phenomena that
>could be the source of a phenomena known as Gamma Ray Bursts.

Whatever Gamma Ray Bursters are (an Industrial accident?) they're really odd
and we now know, the most powerful thing since The Big Bang. They happen once
or twice a week in our observable universe, come from random directions, last
from several seconds to several hours, never come twice from the same place,
and produce incredibly intense Gamma rays, but very little in any other part
of the electromagnetic spectrum, not even X rays. 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.

When matter and antimatter annihilate each other the photons of the gamma rays
produced have a specific amount of energy, the antimatter beam recently
discovered in our Galaxy was discovered by Gamma rays made by anti electrons
and electrons, in fact anti electrons is the only antimatter ever found in
quantity outside the lab. The Gamma Ray Bursters don't fit the energy profile
for electrons or any other known particle. These things make a supernova look
like a cherry bomb, but what they are I have absolutely no idea. It's spooky.

John K Clark

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