Swift Oddball GRB
Credit: SDSS (left), NASA/Swift/UVOT (right)

Oddball GRB

Swift, that busybody burst finder, has done it again. On February 18, the Burst Alert Telescope detected a stellar explosion. This isn't unusual for Swift - it's already detected well over 100 bursts since launch in November, 2004. But this was a weird one - it lasted much longer than other "normal" bursts (about half an hour vs less than a few minutes for most bursts). It was also close - about 25 times closer than the typical burst. The image above right shows the burst as seen by the UV and Optical Telescope (UVOT) on Swift - the burst is the blue object in the center of the field marked by tickmarks. An image of the same field before the burst is on the left. What is it? It could be a gamma-ray burst seen from an unusual angle - or maybe a strange type of supernova. Time may tell.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:28:21 EDT