This month’s undergraduate research post features pulsars as a probe of our galaxy’s magnetic field, and the possibility of asymmetries in supernovae associated with gamma-ray bursts.
Looking for something fun to consider today? Try this on for size: what happens to life on Earth if a gamma-ray burst points at us from within our own galaxy?
Short gamma-ray bursts, extremely energetic explosions in the Universe, might be caused by the merger of two compact objects. In the two papers we discuss today, the authors test this scenario by looking for light emitted still a few days after the explosion.
The authors discuss the possibility that the strangely-shaped supernova remnant W49B was created by a core-collapse supernova that formed strong bipolar jets instead of a spherical shockwave.
Let’s be serious for a moment: nothing dire is going to happen on December 21st. Rest easy. But in celebration I’ve decided to count down my top five favorite astronomical doomsday scenarios, ordered from most to least plausible.
Using a combination of spectra from gamma-ray burst afterglows and photometry and spectroscopy of nearby objects, astronomers have found the galaxy counterpart to at least one high-redshift absorption system, bumping the total number of such galaxies from nine to ten.
Astronomers detect a jet break in the X-ray afterglow of short GRB 111020A.
Last year on Christmas day, scientists observed a unique gamma-ray burst, GRB 101225A. Two interesting and very different models have developed for the ‘Christmas burst:’ a tidal disruption of a comet by a neutron star somewhere in our Galaxy, or a neutron star consuming its companion star over 5 billion light years away.
Using a clever technique, the authors identify a sub-population of rotating Wolf-Rayet stars.