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The Andromeda Galaxy Just Had a Bright Gamma Ray Event

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the alien-super-weapon dept.

Space 129

First time accepted submitter SpaceMika (867804) writes "We just saw something bright in the Andromeda Galaxy, and we don't know what it was. A Gamma Ray Burst or an Ultraluminous X-Ray Object, either way it will be the closest of its type we've ever observed at just over 2 million light years away. It's the perfect distance: close enough to observe in unprecedented detail, and far enough to not kill us all."

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129 comments

far enough (4, Funny)

zakeria (1031430) | about 2 months ago | (#47107267)

to not kill us 'ALL'

Re:far enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107395)

technically a nearby gamma ray burst would fry just half the planet. with any luck it would be antarctica or somewhere similar.

Re:far enough (2)

popo (107611) | about 2 months ago | (#47107421)

So I guess SETI won't be looking for life anywhere in the region then. Right? ... unless (as you said) it wouldn't necessarily kill us all.

Re:far enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47110565)

GRBs are emmitted in beams in opposing directions, so only stuff in the path of a beam in andromeda would fry.

Re:far enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107601)

Nope, a nearby one (some kiloparsecs) would drastically change the chemistry of our atmosphere (not to mention that it would "sanitize" half the planet).
Ultimately, nothing would survive.
It's a very rare event though.

Re:far enough (5, Informative)

Kinthelt (96845) | about 2 months ago | (#47107611)

It would instantly fry half the planet. The rest of the planet gets to die slowly.

Re:far enough (2)

Bengie (1121981) | about 2 months ago | (#47109695)

Well, less quickly anyway. From what I've read, a GRB would probably ionize the atmosphere, turning air into a poison to humans and many other creatures. If 50% of the atmosphere became poison, I'm sure it wouldn't take too long. The ozone would be gone. Probably kill the rest of humanity in the next 12 hours.

Re:far enough (1, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 months ago | (#47107737)

"technically a nearby gamma ray burst would fry just half the planet. with any luck it would be antarctica or somewhere similar."

I think the andromeda galaxy is visible from more than just the polar regions, so it could fry whatever side of the planet is facing it at the time.

Of course if the axis of the burst (the black hole that caused it) is not pointed exactly at us then it wouldn't be quite so dangerous.

A really close GRB (in our galaxy) might only fry one side of the planet immediately, but it would still be bad news from people on the other side of the planet, as the ozone layer would probably be wiped out, there would be a lot of skin cancer and plant life would also have problems. Probably some climate issues in the long run

and the psychic effect (cats and dogs, living together, mass hysteria...)

Re:far enough (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107981)

At least the Global Warming people would finally be right!

Re:far enough (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47107987)

"technically a nearby gamma ray burst would fry just half the planet. with any luck it would be antarctica or somewhere similar."

I think the andromeda galaxy is visible from more than just the polar regions, so it could fry whatever side of the planet is facing it at the time.

The phrase "a nearby gamma ray burst" does not actually imply "the andromeda galaxy", even though this particular (non-)event originated in Andromeda (well, actually this non-event originated in a computer on Earth, since it appears to be a misinterpretation of data, not an actual event).

Note also that "with any luck it would be antarctica" does not disagree with "it could fry whatever side of the planet is facing it at the time'....

Re:far enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47108021)

Probably some climate issues in the long run

Well that's okay, we can just raise taxes on the middle class to pay for the externalities. Fixed!

Re: far enough (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47108165)

Or if we were truly lucky, the Middle East. Just think of the number of lives saved over the course of the next couple centuries from the sacrifice of so few

Re: far enough (1)

danlip (737336) | about 2 months ago | (#47108591)

I hate to respond to a troll, but even if I shared your racism I would realize that the Middle East is not "half the planet" by a long shot, and anything that got the ME would also get Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia, i.e. most of the people on the planet. It's right in the middle of it, that's why it's called "middle" east. At the right angle it might miss one of those continents, but at least 2 out of 3 would be toast.

Re: far enough (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47109791)

It's not about racism, it's about region. That region is stricken with constant war, violence, tyranny, and sexism, a good deal of it all driven by religious fundamentalism. But if it makes you feel better, it might vaporize the oil too and 'murica would collapse as a result. That would be cause for celebration for half the readership here.

Re:far enough (2)

confused one (671304) | about 2 months ago | (#47108311)

technically a nearby gamma ray burst would fry just half the planet. with any luck it would be antarctica or somewhere similar.

and therefor it would kill my family members in Australia and NZ. Thanks, you unbelievably insensitive idiot

Re:far enough (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 2 months ago | (#47108587)

Eh - still better. The northern hemisphere is far more populated and has much more land than the southern. All of North America, Europe, and Asia are in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as half of Africa, and a bit of South America. From a simple "number of lives" perspective it'd be better to hit the lower portion.

Re:far enough (3, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47109073)

On the other hand, a northern hemisphere blast would go a long way to solving the myriad population-related problems our species is facing, freeing the survivors to focus far more exclusively on dealing with the the aftermath of the GRB.

Re: far enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47109991)

What survivors? When the previous world-wide civilization went under during the global calamity that triggered the deluge, there were at least people who attempted to rebuild civilization. Those ships of the then "White Men of the West" will not come sailing down the coast of the lands of the natives if something as instantly deadly as a GRB was to wipe out the Northern hemisphere.

Re: far enough (1, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47110807)

Ah yes, because civilization is the sole providence of the white man - as proven by the fact that his superior weaponry allowed him to conquer the world. Because obviously military technology is the only valid measure of a civilization - and never mind the fact that European science has its roots firmly in the advances made by the Muslim world before its own collapse, who in turn drew heavily on the advances of African, Indian, and Chinese civilizations.

And which world-wide civilization was that? And which deluge? Certainly not the flooding of the Mediterranean that was recorded in Sumerian legends and thence made it's way into Christian myths? Because while that may have destroyed one of the great empires of the day, the rest of the world didn't notice. And I assure you, while deluge myths are common among ancient coastal civilizations, they are markedly absent from most inland civilizations. Not to mention that, to the best of our knowledge, it's only in the last few centuries that global navigation has been possible on a large enough scale to create anything remotely resembling a world-wide civilization.

Which of course brings us to the last point - even if our pasty skin magically confers upon us the blessings of the one true civilization, thanks to our inclination to conquest we're now pretty much everywhere - surely Australia could keep the torch of civilization burning, or do you suppose they've spent too much time in the sun and had their tans drive out their capacity for civilization?

I do hope you're trolling, otherwise that's just embarrassing.

Re: far enough (1)

amaurea (2900163) | about 2 months ago | (#47113275)

Certainly not the flooding of the Mediterranean that was recorded in Sumerian legends and thence made it's way into Christian myths?

Isn't it unrealistic that the Zanclean flood [wikipedia.org] , that ended the Mediterranean's latest dry phase [wikipedia.org] 5.33 million years ago (that's about 2 million years before the evolution of Australopitthecus afarensis [wikipedia.org] ), should be recorded in Sumerian legends? Perhaps you're thinking of the Black Sea deluge [wikipedia.org] , which might have occured somewhere between 7400 BD and 5600 BC (if it happened at all).

Re:far enough (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 months ago | (#47109411)

But if all the Australian wildlife is destroyed, where are we going to get the kiwi birds to make shoe polish out of? I don't think the brown furry eggs they sell as fruit in the grocery stores will ever hatch.

Re:far enough (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47111389)

damn, I was hoping it would hit DC... and only DC

Re:far enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47113255)

Twice. Just to be sure.

Re:far enough (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about 2 months ago | (#47108713)

Update: And it wasn't, but actually a known X-ray source getting caught by mistake. The story of what happened is still pretty neat. Scroll to the bottom for the rest of the "...nevermind."

Move along. Nothing to see here.

Re:far enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47111097)

I'm curious if it did kill all (possible) life in Andromeda?

"Just had"? (5, Funny)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47107273)

Even for Slashdot 2 million years is a bit late.

Re:"Just had"? (5, Funny)

Chatsubo (807023) | about 2 months ago | (#47107923)

The burst was created en route about 6000 years ago: So actually it never happened.

(Please don't mod insightful)

Re:"Just had"? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47111221)

If anything could motivate me to meta-mod, this will... :)

Re:"Just had"? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107927)

2 million years late of what? how do you sinchronize your clock here and 2 million light years away to measure that time. Oh, wait...

The moment you realize that when the light reach us is the same instant as when the light departed (considered it travelled in vacuum), you will start understanding relativity.

Re:"Just had"? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47108155)

The moment you realize that when the light reach us is the same instant as when the light departed (considered it travelled in vacuum), you will start understanding relativity.

Lolwut? It's the same instant to the light but it's not the same instant to us. That is relativity. Failing to mention the behaviour relative to the observer, and talking about "the same instant" as an absolute concept, is when you start looking like you don't understand relativity.

Re:"Just had"? (1)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about 2 months ago | (#47108281)

woosh

Re:"Just had"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47108429)

That is great for the light, but most of us are not in a frame of reference moving at the speed of light, and in fact most of us are in essentially the same frame of reference as far as relevant when talking about just a significant figure or two of precision. A major point of relativity was to point out differences when you chose different frames, and that things like simultaneity are not invariant. You can't describe two events as simultaneous in any universal sense. But that doesn't stop you from still referring to something as simultaneous in a specific frame. Relativity doesn't throwout coordinate systems and coordinate time, just points out what the limits are and how to change those into different reference frames. You can try switching to an invariant quantity like proper time, but defining zero proper time as "the same instant" doesn't help address perceptions in a particular coordinate system.

Re:"Just had"? (2)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 2 months ago | (#47109815)

Tell that to the photons reaching us from the event for whom it literally just happened. There's no such thing as an absolute time scale. Thank you special theory of relativity!

Apparently it was a false alarm... (4, Informative)

johanwanderer (1078391) | about 2 months ago | (#47109861)

See here: http://profmattstrassler.com/2... [profmattstrassler.com] "a known object in Andromeda that emits X-rays appeared to brighten, as a result of electronic noise in Swift’s instruments"

Wound in the Force (4, Funny)

sinij (911942) | about 2 months ago | (#47107281)

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."

Re:Wound in the Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107497)

Was it ever canonically established if the force is subject to the speed of light? Could we feel the voices crying out before seeing the event?

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 2 months ago | (#47107605)

Was it ever canonically established if the force is subject to the speed of light? Could we feel the voices crying out before seeing the event?

If it was no subject to the speed of light, and would be instantaneous, we would have felt it 2.2 Million years ago. If you want a great movie moment of having some "force-enabled" earthians feeling the disturbance right before the gamma ray reaches us, the information propagation speed in the force would be insignificantly smaller than that of light, as the event was (on the planetary scale) very far away.

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47107839)

OK, if you're going to nerd out on the force, you have to remember that Star Wars had faster than light travel.

If ships can travel faster than light, why not "the force"? More specifically, if humans can do it, how could they do something the force couldn't? That would be impossible, since the force is everything.

And, second, there are no "force-enabled" humans ... it's fiction. ;-)

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

STRICQ (634164) | about 2 months ago | (#47108053)

And, the Millenium Falcon was traveling faster than light when he felt the disturbance.

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47109363)

Ah, the Millenium Falcon... The spaceship that is so cool that it converts distance units to time units!

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

GNious (953874) | about 2 months ago | (#47109853)

Uhm - did the force/mitoclorians/whatever cause the Jedi to have insane reaction, or to instinctively predict events before they happened? If the latter, I'm thinking the force is able to time-travel ... speed-of-light then becomes irrelevant.

Re:Wound in the Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47111159)

No! Stop saying that!

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 months ago | (#47109597)

... as the event was (on the planetary scale) very far away.

Boo! What a perfect setup you had, and you blew it. What you should have said was:

... as the event was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away!

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 2 months ago | (#47107881)

How fast is a midichlorian particle?

Re:Wound in the Force (2)

Zocalo (252965) | about 2 months ago | (#47107939)

I've heard that they are fast enough to make it seem like Greedo shot first.

Re:Wound in the Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107989)

How fast is a midichlorian particle?

Point five parsecs faster than light speed, from what I've been told. Assuming your ships have gravity generators on board which are never mentioned, of course.

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47108129)

About tree-fiddy.

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47108693)

How fast is a midichlorian particle?

They can do the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.

Re:Wound in the Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47109219)

They can do the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.

The funny thing is that even though Han says this the Imperial fleet routinely sticks with the Millenium Falcon and keeps engaged in combat with it through all three movies, even though that statement implies the ship is supposed to be "fast".

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about 2 months ago | (#47113295)

They can do the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.

The funny thing is that even though Han says this the Imperial fleet routinely sticks with the Millenium Falcon and keeps engaged in combat with it through all three movies, even though that statement implies the ship is supposed to be "fast".

I think it's reasonable to believe that Han was just blustering and trying to get them on board. It was a reaction to Leia's dismayed "what a piece of junk!"
It was a sell job.

Re:Wound in the Force (3, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47109273)

It's been a long time since I watched the movies, but I believe that very line likely canonically establishes that the force travels far faster than light. If The Force propagated at lightspeed then, unless they were actually in the Alderaan system at the time of the destruction, it would be at least a few years before the disturbance could be sensed. Assuming Alderaan had even a moderate level of translight traffic news of it's destruction would have spread through the empire by word-of-mouth long before light from the event reached even the nearest neighboring star.

Re:Wound in the Force (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 months ago | (#47109505)

Well, considering that Luke felt Han, Leia, and Chewbacca suffering on Bespin before it happened, I think it's safe to say that the Force is not limited by the speed of light.

fristy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107293)

psot

False alarm -- just a normal background source (5, Informative)

StupendousMan (69768) | about 2 months ago | (#47107299)

The team which announced the event has now figured out that it wasn't interesting after all:

TITLE: GCN CIRCULAR
NUMBER: 16336
SUBJECT: Swift trigger 600114 is not an outbursting X-ray source
DATE: 14/05/28 07:57:12 GMT
FROM: Kim Page at U.of Leicester

K.L. Page, P.A. Evans (U. Leicester), D.N. Burrows (PSU), V. D'Elia (ASDC) and A. Maselli (INAF-IASFPA) report on behalf of the Swift-XRT team:

We have re-analysed the prompt XRT data on Swift trigger 600114 (GCN Circ. 16332), taking advantage of the event data.

The initial count rate given in GCN Circ. 16332 was based on raw data from the full field of view, without X-ray event detection, and therefore may have been affected by other sources in M31, as well as background hot pixels. Analysis of the event data (not fully available at the time of the initial circular) shows the count rate of the X-ray source identified in GCN Circ. 16332 to have been 0.065 +/- 0.012 count s^-1, consistent with the previous observations of this source [see the 1SXPS catalogue (Evans et al. 2014): http://www.swift.ac.uk/1SXPS/1... [swift.ac.uk] .

We therefore do not believe this source to be in outburst. Instead, it was a serendipitous constant source in the field of view of a BAT subthreshold trigger.

This circular is an official product of the Swift-XRT team.

Better luck next time.

Re:False alarm -- just a normal background source (4, Informative)

StupendousMan (69768) | about 2 months ago | (#47107349)

And here's a very nice, easy-to-understand explanation of what happened, written by one of the SWIFT astronomers:

http://www.star.le.ac.uk/~pae9... [le.ac.uk]

Re:False alarm -- just a normal background source (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 months ago | (#47107629)

The information and the explanation is great in that link. But why that hideous background and formatting reminiscent of geo cities? All it lacks is the blinking font.

Re:False alarm -- just a normal background source (3, Funny)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 2 months ago | (#47107691)

All it lacks is the blinking font.

It's there. But newer browsers ignore the blink tag.

Re:False alarm -- just a normal background source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47109915)

The information and the explanation is great in that link. But why that hideous background and formatting reminiscent of geo cities? All it lacks is the blinking font.

I want a "true dat" moderation option.

Re:False alarm -- just a normal background source (2)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 2 months ago | (#47107485)

So this is just like all the other stories on Slasdot -- nothing actually happened.

Re:False alarm -- just a normal background source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107705)

By Slashdot standards, reporting on nothing that happened a few hours ago is an improvement upon reporting something that happened 2.2 million years ago.

Re:False alarm -- just a normal background source (1)

Torgo's Pizza (547926) | about 2 months ago | (#47108373)

"While this is disappointing news, the possibility of observing such events in the future still hold great promise for new scientific research here on Earth," stated Dr. Bruce Banner, a leading scientist in gamma-ray research.

Re:False alarm -- just a normal background source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47109653)

The GRB might not harm us but this article calling it a "perfect distance" is a fallacy. If in our own lifetime we were this close to a GRB (Andromeda is practically next door by cosmological standards), the distribution model likely indicates a high probability of one occurring in our own galaxy at some point in some in the not to distant future.(relatively speaking -- it could be thousands of years in the future). If hit with a GRB from close range, the effects could range anywhere from a dose of heavy radiation, to complete erasure of all life.

In short, add one more potential Armageddon issue we need to protect humanity from.

And GRB aren't an easy Armageddon to protect from. The level of potential destruction makes risks from asteroid hits, climate change and nuclear war look like a Tupperware party. The only sure defence against a GRB is interstellar colonies -- and we are still far away from that

Re:False alarm -- just a normal background source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47110495)

I'm ready for the next Gamma Ray Burst!
Connected a fat cable from all the tin-foil lining walls and ceiling to something that was totally useless to channel energy to a ground.
The ground wire is connected to a Frankenstein-Win8 machine then to ground rod.
Maybe a good zap will turn Win8 into something useful.

Uh oh (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 2 months ago | (#47107351)

Really bad news for those aliens trying to contact us from there. Oh well.

Re: Uh oh (1)

cjjjer (530715) | about 2 months ago | (#47108035)

Unless it was some kind of alien weapon of mass destruction and they are performing a mass genocide. I can't help think that if we are not the only life form in the universe some would be just as or more perverse than we are and have been in our history.

False alarm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107379)

Just North Korea doing another nuclear test.

Relativity (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 2 months ago | (#47107407)

Everything is relative, of course, but I'm not sure I would have run with the headline "The Andromeda Galaxy Just Had a Bright Gamma Ray Event" when the event occurred over two million years ago.

Re:Relativity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107647)

I propose slashdot should post a gamma ray story every day. Then, in two million years we can determine which story was right.

Imagine the aliens monitoring our planet: they would think we are crazy.

Re:Relativity (2)

invid (163714) | about 2 months ago | (#47107721)

Like you said, "everything is relative". For astronomers, two million years is a pretty short time. Unless you're waiting in the coffee line.

Re:Relativity (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 2 months ago | (#47107789)

Proper astronomers, like proper programmers, have their own coffee pots. This is doubly true for astronomers who happen to be programmers. What's a coffee line?

Re:Relativity (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 months ago | (#47109777)

Proper astronomers, like proper programmers, have their own coffee pots. This is doubly true for astronomers who happen to be programmers. What's a coffee line?

A coffee line is an unbroken succession of heredity in coffee plants. Did you think it was merely a coincidence that the Arecibo observatory was placed in the coffee growing region of Puerto Rico?

Re:Relativity (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 2 months ago | (#47107949)

It's just as 'right' to think of events as happening at the same time when you don't correct for speed of light time between them.

Re:Relativity (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 2 months ago | (#47108075)

If we're going to head down that road, we might as go ahead and note that time as humans perceive it is a purely fictitious construct based on limited perception (dimensional constraints). However, that's not a terribly good foundation for justifying failure to simply state things in terms that apply to our particular experience as a species.

Re:Relativity (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47110505)

Well, because "Two million years ago something happened in the Andromeda galaxy, and we're only just finding out about it now" is a lame headline.

And in our frame of reference, it just happened. Or, apparently would have happened if it had actually happened, it just so happens that it didn't actually happen. Though, in the future something might happen. But nothing happened today in Andromeda. Even the thing which didn't happen. Because it would have happened a long time ago if it had happened. And if it happened today, we won't know about it for a very long time. When that happens, we'll know it happened, but we'll be debating if it just happened or if it happened already.

And that is why we use the present tense. ;-)

Re:Relativity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47112203)

And in our frame of reference, it just happened.

In our frame of reference, i.e. coordinate time, it happened 2 million years ago. You could say the emission and observation of the light happened at the same proper time, but that is not specific to our frame of reference and not particularly fitting to the idea of simultaneity within a specified frame.

Define "us" (2)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 2 months ago | (#47107505)

Self centered earthlings disgust me!! Who's to say this gamma ray burst didn't kill millions of inhabitants of some distant planet?

Re:Define "us" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47108561)

Name one.

Re:Define "us" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47109131)

Who's to say this gamma ray burst didn't kill millions of inhabitants of some distant planet?

the person/people that said this actually didn't happen and was a false alarm ... I suppose those would be the people who would say.

Woops! Nevermind. (4, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about 2 months ago | (#47107543)

This has been withdrawn. From

http://gcn.gsfc.nasa.gov/gcn/g... [nasa.gov]

We therefore do not believe this source to be in outburst. Instead, it was
a serendipitous constant source in the field of view of a BAT subthreshold
trigger.

This circular is an official product of the Swift-XRT team.

Oh crap it's Galactus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107575)

Please don't eat our planet!

False Alarm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107655)

False Alarm:

Update (5/28/14 9:20 am EDT): This lalert may have been a false alarm. Further analysis showed the initial brightness was overestimated by a factor of 300. An official circular from the Swift-XRT team says Ãoetherefore do not believe this source to be in outburst. Instead, it was a serendipitous constant source in the field of view of a BAT subthreshold trigger.Ã WeÃ(TM)ll provide more details soon.

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/112194/possible-gamma-ray-burst-detected-in-andromeda-would-be-closest-ever-observed/#ixzz3315sBQ3P

Jesus is coming (4, Funny)

js3 (319268) | about 2 months ago | (#47107659)

"The event" means Jesus is on his way. Go to church people

Re:Jesus is coming (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#47107827)

"The event" means Jesus is on his way.

Ironic then that it's a false alarm.

But even if it did happen, it happened two million years ago, when mankind was little more than short walking chimps. Hard to believe Jesus made an enormous explosion in some other galaxy that would have no effect here 2 million years before being born. Or maybe you're just being funny. Hard to tell sometimes.

Andromeda Rules (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 months ago | (#47107713)

It was the Andromedans flashing a mirror aimed at us right back in our direction.
If we examine closely, we might see what our oldest African ancestors really
looked like, how they struggled to get by on their hind legs, and how they had no
inkling of a concept of space and time and constellations and galaxies named
Andromeda.

.

Re:Andromeda Rules (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 2 months ago | (#47107961)

Or we could see nothing, because according to the creationists, the universe is only 6000 years old.

Re:Andromeda Rules (1)

amaurea (2900163) | about 2 months ago | (#47113383)

In theory, all we need to do is find a black hole and look with unreasonably high resolution and sensitivity at a point slightly more than 0.5 black hole radii away from its horizon (i.e. 1.5 schwarzchild radii from the center). The black hole acts as a lens, and at that point light is deflected by 180 degrees, letting us look back at ourselves as the earth was 2d years ago, where d is the distance to the hole in lightyears. In fact, by looking even closer to the point 0.5 black hole radii away, you can get to a point where light is deflected by 540 degrees, giving us an even fainter and more distorted image of ourselves a few minutes after the second image, and so on in infinity. In practice, even the first image will be so faint that it probably won't contain even a single photon, and would be washed out by the noise in the environment of the black hole (and between us and it) even if it did. But it's a fun through experiment.

A bright Gamma Ray event? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47107959)

I hope they played "Heavy Metal Universe".

"and far enough to not kill us all." (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47108349)

Who are the lucky contestants?

There goes the death star (1)

skaag (206358) | about 2 months ago | (#47108909)

Somewhere, in a galaxy far, far away, a death star was just blown up to smithereens by the rebel forces :-)

Re:There goes the death star (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 2 months ago | (#47109203)

You forgot to add "a long time ago..."

Climate Change caused it (1)

Dak_Peoples (591544) | about 2 months ago | (#47109041)

CNN will ask the question if Climate Change here on earth caused it.

The Malaysian jet (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 2 months ago | (#47109889)

No, if it is CNN, they will somehow link it to the Malaysian airliner.

Armchair astrophysics question (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 months ago | (#47109481)

I could've sworn I watched a documentary that stated gamma ray bursts are only observed at extremely long distances so there's little likelihood of one occurring close enough to be a threat to us. Right or wrong?

Re:Armchair astrophysics question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47109927)

Mostly right. They're only observed at extremely long distances because if one was close you'd be killed instead of observing.

Oh snap... (1)

Beavertank (1178717) | about 2 months ago | (#47109569)

Looks like someone in the Andromeda Galaxy just worked out how to make a doomsday weapon.

There goes the galactic neighborhood.

Sorry. You meant, "hasn't killed us YET." (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 months ago | (#47109655)

Since we can't predict anything about its future behavior. Say, I was asking myself yesterday, why there didn't seem to be any other intelligent technological life in the universe. I wonder...

It's Jesus (1)

Hategrin (3579025) | about 2 months ago | (#47110675)

It's proof that Jesus has entered our universe and is coming to Earth to rapture his people. Unless you can prove this isn't true, to the same level as say, the fundamental theorem of Calculus, then it has to be true. Hallelujah praise Jesus.

Holy shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47111247)

I hope I can get tickets to THAT!

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