Were you watching Bootes last night ? March 20, 2008Posted by dorigo in astronomy, internet, news, physics, science.
I am subscribed to several discussion groups in the Internet, and my mail box is usually stuffed with messages I do not need. However, just every so often a message worth reading – and passing on – appears. It is the case of the following, which I am glad to paste below. It is a message from George Gliba (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last night the NASA SWIFT spacecraft saw the most extrinsically
luminous Gamma-ray Burst ever known. Some ground based telescopes
recorded the visual optical afterglow to be 5th magnitude!
Recently I talked to Dr. Chris Shrader who told me about it, as he
is on the Swift team. After confirming it with ASD science writer
Robert Naeye, he told me that it has a redshift of 0.9, which
translates into a distance of 7 billion light years! Robert has
notified the AAVSO to see if there were any visual variable star
observers who may have seen it. Perhaps some meteor observers saw
it or it was seen with a video camera. The time was 6:10 to 6:13
UT March 19, in Bootes. Below is the exact location as reported
by the NASA Swift team member Stephen Holland.
The coordinates for the optical afterglow of GRB 080319B are:
RA(J2000.0) = 14:31:40.97
Dec(J2000.0) = +36:18:07.9
With an estimated uncertainty of ±0.5 arcseconds. I would be very
interested in knowing if anyone managed to observe this. Such
observations may even have a scientific value in that they would
help pin down the exact shape of the light curve.
So, were you watching Bootes last night ? If you saw a star lit up and then fade away, you might as well send a note to George… Chances are you would be contributing to our still sketchy knowledge on these fantastically energetic explosions.