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The GRB Suite: Bridging art and science through the story of gamma-ray bursts
Credit: Turner Gillespie; Sylvia Zhu; Robin Corbet; MICA; NASA


Dancing with the Bursts

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) signal the explosive deaths of stars and the births of new black holes. Scientists understand these events through careful analysis of the Gamma-rays they produce (fortuitously beamed to us if the burst happens to be pointed our way), and through study of their afterglows in X-ray, optical and radio emission. The astronomical data is dissected frequency by frequency and peak by peak, until a comprehensive story emerges. But of course there are other ways to tell this story. To expand the ways humans can understand such enormous events, a team from the Maryland Institute College of Art and scientists from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have joined forces to help interpret Gamma-ray burst data using music and animation. This effort, the "GRB Suite", uses timing and energy data obtained from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope of the four brightest bursts seen by Fermi's Large Area Telescope to capture the essence of these bursts through music and image ("Sonification, Visualization, and Animation"). The image above is a example of a visualization of a burst. Immerse yourself in the entire experience.
Published: August 4, 2014


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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!
Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 04-Aug-2014 07:35:46 EDT