Distant Gamma Ray Burster Nailed

Crosby_M (Crosby_M@bls.gov)
Fri, 16 May 1997 16:04:16 -0400

On Wed, 14 May 1997, Robin Hanson forwarded a message called "Caltech
Astronomers Crack the Puzzle of Cosmic Gamma-Ray Bursts" which noted:
<Competing theories on gamma-ray bursts generally fall into two types:
one, which supposes the bursts to originate from some as-yet unknown
population of objects within our own Milky Way galaxy, and another,
which proposes that the bursts originate in distant galaxies, several
billion light-years away.>

The message added:
<The results demonstrate for the first time that *at least some* of
the enigmatic gamma-ray bursts that have puzzled astronomers for
decades are extragalactic in origin.>

Emphasis mine. There seems to be a healthy competition of ideas in
this area. For example, the following comes from a 3 May 97 Science
News article called "Milky Way's Heart Gushes Antimatter " and can be
found at

<New observations suggest that the heart of our galaxy pumps a
fountain of antimatter and hot gas into the tenuous halo of material
lying several thousand light-years above it. The discovery could
dramatically alter astronomers' view of the Milky Way and how the
hotbed of activity at the galaxy's center influences its farthest
extremities. The fountain "provides a conduit between the galactic
center and distant parts of the galaxy," says gamma-ray astronomer
Charles D. Dermer of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in
Washington, D.C. "This high-altitude feature . . . reveals how the
core regulates the rest of the galaxy.">

Sounds to me like these gamma ray emissions may be just a normal part
of galactic dynamics.

Mark Crosby