Light from 12-billion-year old star's explosion detected

Washington, Aug 7 (ANI): Researchers have detected the light from a star that exploded more than 12 billion years ago.

At its death it glowed so brightly that it outshone its entire galaxy by a million times.

This brilliant flash travelled across space for 12.7 billion years to our planet Earth that hadn't even existed at the time of the explosion.

By analyzing this light, astronomers learned about a galaxy that was otherwise too small, faint and far away for even the Hubble Space Telescope to see.

"This star lived at a very interesting time, the so-called dark ages just a billion years after the Big Bang," lead author Ryan Chornock of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), said.

"In a sense, we're forensic scientists investigating the death of a star and the life of a galaxy in the earliest phases of cosmic time," he added.

The star announced its death with a flash of gamma rays, an event known as a gamma-ray burst (GRB). GRB 130606A was classified as a long GRB since the burst lasted for more than four minutes.

It was detected by NASA's Swift spacecraft on June 6th. Chornock and his team quickly organized follow-up observations by the MMT Telescope in Arizona and the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii.

The findings are published online in The Astrophysical Journal. (ANI)


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