Thursday, March 20, 2008

Naked eye-bright GRB at z=0.9

Yesterday's gamma ray burst GRB 080319B was the brightest yet -- peak optical magnitude of ~5.6. That's visible to the naked eye. (Light curve here). Spectra have been obtained from multiple telescopes; the highest redshift feature is the Mg II doublet at z=0.937.

For other bursts, spectra taken a few hours apart show evolving metastable emission lines, caused by the blast wave cooking the gas in the galaxy. An inside-out probe of the gas. Presumably we'll see papers like that for this burst, too.

Props to Trogon and Bad Astronomy for the news flash.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

Good luck spotting a magnitude 5.6 event that only lasts 10 seconds. Even with good eyes and great skies, you'd have to be really lucky to notice it.