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Robotic Telescope Unravels Cosmic Blast Mystery

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the eagle-eye dept.

Space 58

An anonymous reader writes "The Register is reporting that scientists from Liverpool John Moores University have used their robotic telescope in the Canary Islands to measure the polarization of light from a Gamma Ray Burst just 203 seconds after its detection by NASA's Swift Gamma Ray Observatory Satellite. The result suggests that the emitting material flowing out from the explosion may not be highly magnetized in the way that some theories had predicted."

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This is... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18403577)

frist p0st for Goatse

Hardcore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18403607)

Those of us in GMT timezone have just enough time to rub one out before our evening meals.

Big Bang? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18403645)

Good these Gamma Ray events actually be other big-bangs in far, distant regions of the Universe?

Re:Big Bang? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18404149)

No. You're an idiot.

Re:Big Bang? (0, Offtopic)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405225)

Looks like someone has a case of the Mondays!/Seems like someone got up on the wrong side of the rock today!

Pick whichever seems appropriate.

Re:Big Bang? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18407289)

Anonymous Cowards never have a nice day.

Re:Big Bang? (0)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405201)

It could be simular, I doubt it though. THe big bang is supposedly how the universe was born. Not how galaxies or parts of the universe were formed.

But, The effects it could have are largly unknow. So yes, it could have simular effects of the big bang. It could change the positions of elements into a different order then they were before. Also, it could be possible that the energy from it, if at the right distance and with the right conditions, could help spark life if we are to believe some of the creation of life theories. But all this is just a guess based on what we don't know. Think of it as a creative license.

Re:Big Bang? (2, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405863)

I just thought I'd remind you that the original story is about some actual science carried out by real researchers, not a proposed plot for an episode of Star Trek.

Re:Big Bang? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18407511)

Isn't it fascinating when startrek can include enough real science conducted by real scientist to produce not only entertainment, but gadgets we all use today.

Sure I know this. And of course I didn't RTFA. Well at least untill after i had alread posted that. But sometimes, wondering what if, leads to real science conducted by real scientist too.

Re:Big Bang? (0, Flamebait)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18408329)

Rest assured, not in your case.
You wouldnt find something that leads to real since if you were a tour guide at MIT.

Re:Big Bang? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409107)

Um hello, It wasn't MIT it was UCLA!

BTW, the doc called and said to inform you that your cranial-rectal extraction was scheduled Saturday.

When Anomalous Becomes the Norm (5, Insightful)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18403691)

It shouldn't surprise us that GRB's don't behave as we thought. Nearly everything we think we know about them is based upon assumptions and speculation that are only minimally supported by evidence. There is potential for error at every single step of this process. To continue to be surprised that our telescopes are returning anomalous data when that's what's been happening nearly every single day for years and years and years is silly. At some point, you have to go back to your assumptions and figure out where you went wrong.

Which is the whole point of doing the research. (4, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18404661)

It shouldn't surprise us that GRB's don't behave as we thought. Nearly everything we think we know about them is based upon assumptions and speculation that are only minimally supported by evidence. There is potential for error at every single step of this process.

In fact the whole idea is to sometimes find out surprising things that find flaws in the old models and give information to drive the creation of more accurate models. (One definition of information transfer is how much the receiver is surprised. B-) )

That's what we're spending all this money for: To come up with physics that more closely matches the real universe. To do this we have to know what's NOT matching in the old models.

(For those - ideally few of the slashdot participants - who gripe that it's being spent at all: At some point the improved models will almost certainly produce some new and useful technologies and/or end squandering of resources on the pursuit of dead-ends. Of course you can't know up front WHAT technologies it will affect. That's part of what you're finding out.;)

Re:Which is the whole point of doing the research. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405383)

(For those - ideally few of the slashdot participants - who gripe that it's being spent at all: At some point the improved models will almost certainly produce some new and useful technologies and/or end squandering of resources on the pursuit of dead-ends. Of course you can't know up front WHAT technologies it will affect. That's part of what you're finding out.;)
The alternative could be to insist the old models are corect, channel all the funding into convincing other of this and then refute any attempt to change the conventions by proclaiming an alignment with some industries or people that makes anything they say false reguardless of what was being said.

But that would never happen, Don't even know why I brought it up.

But yes, Lack of fruitation doesn't mean lack of progress pr importance. Understanding all this stuff paves the ways to what we would consider better tools for life. Cleaner and more powerfull energy resouces and better modes of transortation are just a few distance achivments that can come from accuratly understanding these problems and principles.

The only reason I bring it up is because they seem to be important to us in todays times. These studies (or waists) can lead to understandings that would translate to helping with solving some of these problems. Any ways, Don't read too much into what I said. I'm just glad to see science not being afraid of science.

Re:Which is the whole point of doing the research. (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405933)

"For those - ideally few of the slashdot participants - who gripe that it's being spent at all:"

Just remember that pretty much whoever you give money to will spend it, so it's not like the money gets lost outside of the system. Even if the scientists blow all the money on booze, think about how much of that is tax that goes back into the system.

Quoth TFA (1)

somepunk (720296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405421)

However much scientists have learned from this set of data, gamma ray bursts remain hugely mysterious events. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and president of the Royal Society said that science was "still flummoxed: by the underlying trigger of the explosions, and why they sometimes emit brief flashes of light. "Theorists have a lot of tentative ideas, and these observations narrow down the range of options," he added. Nice of you to summarize the article for everyone, but you left out the informative bits.

Re:When Anomalous Becomes the Norm (0, Troll)

cluckshot (658931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405437)

Just about every time I report to people on this forum that observed data is conflicting with their defined model of the universe. I get moderated as troll. I really wish people would wake up and smell the coffee. The data is vastly different from the assumptions.

Doesn't anyone remember the Stardust recovery. It was going to find comet ice. Sorry folks... it must be summer and we just ran out of ice. Of course we have minerals that formed at high heat, (not cold temps) and which would have been destroyed by water. How about a thousand other similar observations that just about shout that the universe doesn't fit the nice box most people believe in right now. The data is out there and it says a completely different story. For example, how if the sun is a nuclear energy furnace does the matter ejected by it speed up as it passes the earth and further out as measured at Saturn? The G-Force hypothesis and Atomic Fusion model of the solar system don't work that way folks! Things would slow down on the way out.

Of course being a good scientist and noting such things on this forum has to be troll! I agree: "At some point, you have to go back to your assumptions and figure out where you went wrong." -- You went wrong -> (to those who mod troll) when you decided to shout down good science questions. The previous poster is right. I just hope we will begin to question the defined reality and challenge the religion that is parading around in the mask of science right now.

Re:When Anomalous Becomes the Norm (2, Interesting)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18406581)

Just about every time I report to people on this forum that observed data is conflicting with their defined model of the universe. I get moderated as troll. I really wish people would wake up and smell the coffee. The data is vastly different from the assumptions.

Merely pointing this fact out as it occurs every time it occurs can have an impact in itself. Many people will wait until they see numerous others bringing this up to actually consider the concept. The great communicators today in astrophysics will typically introduce the current theory within the context of the theory's history, and this added information (which you very rarely get with NASA press releases) can affect peoples' beliefs about the current theories' believability.

I actually attempted to get Slashdot to post the disconfirming Stardust results to their homepage as a story without inserting any comments advocating any specific cosmology, and they refused my request (I suppose on the idea that disconfirming evidence is not "news"?). If true, I find this to be very problematic. It used to be that anomalous data points directed future research and affected our beliefs. This was an important part of the scientific method, and its recent absence appears to have been completely ignored by the public.

A big part of the problem is that although the people who run Slashdot can be credited with having an interest in astronomy, these same people have not involved themselves in the technical details of the arguments and would prefer to defer to "experts" rather than evaluate the arguments on their own. They are just as much behind the curve as the rest, and many good ideas go unnoticed by this website's management due to a pseudoscience labeling.

Another big problem that I have a lot of personal experience dealing with specifically on this forum are the avid astrophysical enthusiasts. They feel no responsibility for discouraging other people away from against-the-mainstream theories, oftentimes completely unaware of the overwhelming nature of the disconfirming evidence for the Big Bang and stellar evolution. They oftentimes consider advocates of against-the-mainstream (ATM) as being "misleading"; anything that is not mainstream is somebody's "pet theory"; and they try to make the case that ATM advocates want to *convert* the entire world to their own pet theories (as opposed to merely just creating a debate). Slashdot is heavily steeped in these types. They are condescending. They may be fairly intelligent. But their confidence and hubris can negate their intelligence. When you refuse to assimilate to their way of thought, they will give up on you. But they will rarely consider reading any books that you suggest for them. They don't understand that there is more value to multiple mainstream cosmologies. With one cosmology, you *listen*. With two or even three reasonable options, you *analyze* and *compare*.

The real problem is that the avid astrophysicist enthusiasts right now don't realize that there will never be a solution to this dark matter, dark energy problem within the mainstream models. It's clear that these concepts have become so unphysical that they are basically non-sequiters (anti-gravitational matter, for instance). It's especially ironic that a kid can read through all of Douglas Adams' books and not realize that he was ridiculing mainstream astrophysics! And if you don't recognize the previous non-sequiter, then you at least must recognize that it doesn't make sense that such a plentiful particle like dark matter can emit no electromagnetic radiation and not ever be detected here on Earth despite 20 years of trying. That's another non-sequiter.

My advice to you is that you not give up. Experiment with various techniques for getting your message across (you'll find that some definitely work better than others and your writing will improve over time as a result). If you have the time, become an expert in the evidence and try to understand all the sides of the debate. As time goes on, awareness will increase and people like us will become more numerous. It's happening right now. It's just a very slow process. All of this will make for an interesting study 30, 40 or 50 years from now. The last 100 years of astrophysics will be heavily studied in the future. People will want to know why the system broke down, and they will study these threads that you and I are writing right now.

Evidence for the Big Bang (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409865)

"overwhelming nature of the disconfirming evidence for the Big Bang and stellar evolution"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Firas_spectrum. jpg [wikipedia.org]

Re:Evidence for the Big Bang (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410417)

Oh please.

Are you aware that there are stars whose surface temperatures are too low to have fusion within their cores?

Are you aware that traditional cometary theory has basically been disconfirmed by the Stardust and Deep Impact missions?

Are you aware of the insane number of anomalies represented by rilles on the rocky planets within our own solar system? Many of these rilles actually travel both up and down with the topography of the land.

Have you reviewed the evidence by Halton Arp of high redshift quasars in front of or connected to low-redshift spiral galaxies?

Have you seen the supernova remnant of 1987A? Does that look to you like the remnants of an explosion?

Why do so many nebulae have hourglass morphologies?

Are you aware of the extent to which we have observed synchrotron radiation within the universe? Do you know what this means?

Are you aware that solar neutrinos will decrease when sunspots increase? Are you aware that this is impossible according to the current thermonuclear reaction models of the Sun with neutrinos being generated at the core?

Why does the solar wind continue to accelerate as it passes the planets? What mechanical Newtonian process could possibly be accelerating them?

Why does electricity flow into the Sun's poles? The Ulysses probe sees a million mph flow of electrons and protons at the poles of the Sun. Why is it there?

In fact, why do planets like Venus and Saturn have "eyes" at their poles?

Are you aware that many of the nebulae we expected were stellar nurseries (like R Corona Australis) in fact exhibit intense synchrotron x-ray radiation and 100 million degree temperatures (even though they were predicted to be around 400 degrees below zero)? If stars are in fact coming to existence there, this would be completely inconsistent with gravitational collapse.

I can go on like this for hours. It seems to me like mainstream astrophysicists should be spending a lot less time on confirming evidence and perhaps start trying to resolve all of this *disconfirming* anomalous evidence. But maybe the reason that many of these things have not been resolved is because they just don't make sense in terms of mainstream theories. Either way, surely you are aware that we can offer up additional proofs for the cosmic microwave background. Just because it's not popular to do so doesn't mean that it cannot be done.

The Universe IS NOT electric, get over it (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18406631)

You aren't a good scientist, you are delusional. You get modded troll because you have all the characteristics of a complete and total quack. You parrot back information from disreputable sources, you say things you don't understand, you keep on bringing up things that have been disproved as if they were fact, you have a highly inflated sense of your own intelligence, you think everyone who disagrees with you is both a moron and out to get you. You ignore anything anyone says that proves you wrong. No one wants to debate you because you understand neither what they are saying, nor even what YOU are saying. It's utterly pointless.

You are one good rant away from being the next Time Cube guy, only not as entertaining. Go wank off at the electric universe site, we really don't care to watch.

Mods, go ahead and mod me down, this is totally off topic. I just had to get it off my chest.

Re:The Universe IS NOT electric, get over it (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18408949)

You aren't a good scientist, you are delusional.

Not quite sure if you're talking to me or the other guy that I was talking with who agreed with me (I suppose both and all of the rest of us who are growing in numbers ...), but you seem to care a lot that other people believe something different than yourself. And I guess, quite ironically, that would make you quite a bad scientist as well (!) since the public expects that scientists remain open-minded in the face of evidence -- which, despite your assertions, exists and is quite plentiful.

You get modded troll because you have all the characteristics of a complete and total quack.

I love the surreal nature of being called a quack by people who believe that dark matter is many times more plentiful than baryonic matter and yet cannot be seen; and by people who believe that matter can act to gravitationally repel other matter as dark energy must. The irony is beautiful. I'm glad to be a quack for believing that astrophysics should not violate the laws of physics that we've identified within the laboratory. If your confidence was not so unintentionally destructive, I might laugh. The unfortunate fact is that you won't realize that dark matter and dark energy don't exist for many more decades. At that time, all of the people you've convinced to not read about the theory that you refused to learn about yourself will have already long forgotten about your bad tip.

It's really unhealthy to care so much about what other people care about. If two people somewhere in some room or in some forum are talking about EU Theory, there's really no reason why you should get upset about that because we're not telling you what to believe. End of story.

You parrot back information from disreputable sources

When science is in a crisis, scientists have an obligation to re-examine all theories on the table. So, mainstream astrophysicists don't believe that it's possible that the Sun can have an electric source ... So what! If they had their own theories that weren't so observationally anomalous, then we would have never had this conversation in the first place.

Why do you believe that the EU Theorists are "disreputable"? Because some astrophysicists on Bad Astronomy did some calculations and figured that it shouldn't be possible? Every single astrophysics school teaches their students that plasma in space instantly neutralizes in charge. It is the contention of the EU Theorists that this principle is mathematical rather than physical -- and wrong. It should be no surprise then that EU Theory is against the mainstream. But being against the mainstream does not by default mean that they are disreputable. And if we ever treated science in that way, our knowledge base would stop increasing forever. Moving against-the-mainstream concepts into the mainstream is a normal process of the advancement of science.

What you appear to not understand is that the EU Theorists are using observational data (interpreted through laboratory plasma physics) to discredit mainstream astrophysical theories. There was, believe it or not, a time when observations meant more than calculations.

you say things you don't understand, you keep on bringing up things that have been disproved as if they were fact,you have a highly inflated sense of your own intelligence, you think everyone who disagrees with you is both a moron and out to get you. You ignore anything anyone says that proves you wrong. No one wants to debate you because you understand neither what they are saying, nor even what YOU are saying. It's utterly pointless.

You are free to your own beliefs. That's how things work in these parts. However, I'm worried how you may react one day when you find that your beliefs are wrong. Will you still be mad at the people who held them? Or will you then divert your uncontrolled anger to yourself?

Re:When Anomalous Becomes the Norm (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#18406657)

"just about shout that the universe doesn't fit the nice box most people believe in right now"

Who's "most people"?? From what I can gather, "most people" believe in some kind of god based creation, of CAUSE we're gonna keep finding things that don't fit that belief. As for people in the science community - they DON'T believe in some nice model they have fitting the way the universe works, that's why they're looking for things like this that go against the current models.

And that's why you're being modded as 'troll', because you're making assertions about people that simple aren't true.

...is anyone else reminded of TNG? (0, Flamebait)

jamieswith (682838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18403719)

By these kinds of events?

The episode where the Q were having their little civil war? massive explosions happening in space... of course they were not GRBs, but it does strike a similar tone somewhere inside me...

These things almost seem like the WMD of the future, the ability to wipe out all life within almost half a galaxy with a single explosion due to the concentration of gamma rays... kindof makes any nuke look insignificant...

Oh no, I just mentioned a weapons application... so if we suddenly see lots of funding of this research by the bush administration... we know why!

Re:...is anyone else reminded of TNG? (1)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 7 years ago | (#18403887)

These things almost seem like the WMD of the future, the ability to wipe out all life within almost half a galaxy with a single explosion due to the concentration of gamma rays... kindof makes any nuke look insignificant...
Yes. Also extremely stupid unless you can deliver it from more than "half a galaxy" away :P.

Oh no, I just mentioned a weapons application... so if we suddenly see lots of funding of this research by the bush administration... we know why!
Getting old and tired there. Never attribute to conspiracy what may be explained by mere incompetence :P.

Re:...is anyone else reminded of TNG? (4, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18404177)

Yes. Also extremely stupid unless you can deliver it from more than "half a galaxy" away :P.

GRBs are thought to emanate only from the poles of a supernova. So no, a GRB can indeed be 'aimed'.

I've often wondered if GRBs aren't simply the result of some technological civilization stumbling onto a new law of physics, and wiping themselves out in the process. It would certainly explain the absence of any voices in a galaxy that -- by now -- ought to be teeming with life.

Re:...is anyone else reminded of TNG? (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405165)

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another which states that this has already happened."

Maybe we are indeed seeing the outcome of this happening, just on a smaller scale. These guys are probably doing something incredously stupid, like playing with a very large ray canon or starting a large nuclear fusion reactor. Well, I say they got it coming to them. Nosy bastards.

Re:...is anyone else reminded of TNG? (1)

vonhammer (992352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405693)

This is clearly an early test of the halo superweapon. The flood must have escaped from a nearby system.

Re:...is anyone else reminded of TNG? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18436165)

No, it is just those silly ancients and another "Project Arcturus" Blowing up 3/4 I mean 5/6th of a Solar System up.

Re:...is anyone else reminded of TNG? (1)

cbacba (944071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413339)

It seems more likely that GRBs and their lesser kin are more associated with keeping fungus down and making sure that little if any life beyond that level survives.

The universe may be teeming with life - but not necessarily beyond 1 cell. In any case, our violent universe with massive active forces seems to be more significant than originally thought.

One thought is - what about intervening material screwing up polarization? Also, an afterglow is not the supernova light - it's the lower energy equivalent of what caused the grb in the first place (as I understand the idea). That's likely to be a bit further away than the extremely high magnetic fields are likely to be around the star, probably dependent upon earlier sluffed off materials (planetary nebula sorta stuff). The magnetic field may likely be way down by that time frame. After all, it does tend to take minutes or hours before the supernova spectrum light becomes dominant.

Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes... (2, Interesting)

mmell (832646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18403903)

...specifically, with their formation.

When a black hole forms, the matter trapped within the event horizon has (for all intents and purposes) left our universe. Perhaps GRB's are merely the thermodynamic return on all that lost mass?

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (2, Interesting)

jamieswith (682838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18404043)

You know... I've wondered about that myself in the past...

I also wondered what might happen to the matter trapped in the accretion disks of two black holes when they began to merge, especially if they had opposing rotation... matter travelling at virtually the speed of light, hitting yet more matter, travelling at virtually the speed of light in the opposite direction... meaning an effective speed of impact almost double the speed of light... and all that happening in an area of dilated time... you have to wonder what that would look like...

Maybe someone smarter than me could tell us!

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (2, Informative)

slew (2918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18404805)

"I also wondered what might happen to the matter trapped in the accretion disks of two black holes when they began to merge, especially if they had opposing rotation... matter travelling at virtually the speed of light, hitting yet more matter, travelling at virtually the speed of light in the opposite direction... meaning an effective speed of impact almost double the speed of light... and all that happening in an area of dilated time... you have to wonder what that would look like..."

I haven't done the math, but I'm guessing it wouldn't be as interesting as you might hope.

The "worst" case seems to me would be the accretion discs would be spinning the same rotation (because if they were spinning the opposite way, the relative velocity of the intersecting parts of the accretion discs would be nearly the same, no?). If they were spinning the same way, and because accretion disc are generally present because of increased viscosity (w/o viscosity, the matter would generally just fall directly into the black hole), the discs would likely just merge and the composite disc would have approximatly double the angular momentum. If some of the theories current are correct, and that the polar jets are ways of bleeding the energy instead of mass to limit angular momentum, then the polar jets would likely more intense, but over two black holes, so the net effect seems like it wouldn't be that different.

If we when with the opposite, where the rotation was oppossing, the angular momentum seems like it would cancel each other so that there would be less of a reason to need polar jets to bleed energy and although I'm sure there would be lots of crunching, but this would be near the event horizon meaning most of it would just probably "fall-into" one of the black hole's event horizon.

BTW, just to be nitpicky, when two flash lights are pointed at each other, the photons don't hit each other at twice the speed of light in an area of dilated time (or any other reference frame). In the reference frame of one of the photons (what you are calling dilated time), the other photon is just travelling the speed of light towards it. However, the speed isn't conserved, but of course momentum is conserved within a frame of reference, so that ignoring the relativistic effects for the moment, the resulting momentum of the collision is the momentum of the other object in first object's frame of reference (just like the other object hitting you at near the speed of light, the fact that you are also going near the speed of light isn't gonna make this much different, no?). Now when we put relativistics effects in there, because of conservation of momentu, other object is gonna seem much heavier to the other moving object than to the stationary observer. Did that make any sense?

Going back, that means the "net" momentum after collision would be pretty much zero for your "worst" case. Big crunch, but now the relative angular momentum is low and all that matter is sitting right near a black hole, might be interesting to them, but would you see it?

I for one... (1)

jeffclay (1077679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405197)

I for one welcome our new gamma ray overlords! :)

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (1)

jamieswith (682838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18405281)

Well, I do see some of your points... perhaps I just don't have enough depth in my physics education...

But, even assuming frames of reference etc the relativistic mass of the matter involved in the collision would be HUGE, far more than the original matter... and I don't think all that would dissapear into the black holes for several reasons... but one main one comes to mind:

- The accretion disks are by definition not inside the event horizon of either black hole, and therefore not at the point where any energy or exotic particles from matter colisions would be completely incapable of escape - if stuff releases energy at that point... it CAN escape, as long as it has enough energy - that's the whole reason we see the disks in the first place.

Whatever way the matter collides, close to the event horizon of a black hole is quite possibly THE fastest you're ever going to be able to smash atoms together (until we discover new physics) - while that collision happens outside of the event horizon (so we can see the results) and inside an area of time dilation (so from our frame of reference we can see the interations slowed down) that HAS to be interesting! or am I missing something?

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (2, Informative)

slew (2918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18406787)

To an observer outside of a black hole, it takes an ever increasing amount of wall-clock time to see something near the event horizon move (things look very still). Of course to the stuff falling into the hole, things sort of happen at "real-time" locally.

From your observer's perspective you might be thinking that all the collision will be in slo-mo which might be "interesting" or "the-matrix-movie-like", but in real-life you can only see photons, so everything will also be getting dimmer at the same time (red shifted until at the photons being emitted near the event horizon almost have zero frequency as their time gets stretched out and energy approaching zero and thus relatively invisible).

Short answer is they are having a party, but on the outside we probably don't get to see too much.

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (1)

wass (72082) | more than 7 years ago | (#18406647)

Actually, there are teams of people that have been studying mergers (collisions) of two black holes for quote some time, and for awhile they could only solve the initial and final states of the system. Eventually their simulations got better and better and now they have pretty good understanding of the intermediate states of the collision too.

It's an interesting problem, and it deals with the generation of huge amounts of gravitational waves. The hope is that these simulations will now pave the way for what kind of gravitational wave signatures we can hope to pick up with such gravitational wave detectors like LIGO and LISA.

This lady [nasa.gov] just gave a colloquium at my school regarding this very subject. Her talk was interesting, she described the history of attempts to study black hole mergers. It took awhile before the computer simulations could get sophisticated enough to model the actual interactions and dynamics of the two rotating colliding black holes. The gist is that they attract, then combine quite spectacularly releasing 'radiating' TONS of gravitational waves in a characteristic distribution, and then spin down. The end result is basically one bigger black hole. They expect a handful of these events to occur each year, so hopefully LIGO and LISA can pick up on them.

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (1)

slew (2918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18408005)

This old cnet article [com.com] has a pointer to an animation about this and that talks about the black holes themselves colliding. The gravity wave phenomena is potentially very interesting.

However, the original question was about the accretion discs and being in some sort of time-dialated matrix-like slo-mo explosion, which is an entirely different thing...

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18407117)

I'll bet you're a hoot at parties.

Just kidding, of course. Comments like these are exactly why I read Slashdot.

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (1)

Rockin'Robert (997471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410551)

"Two flash lights pointed at each other"? Sounds like a phasor on over-load to me, Spock. -RR

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (4, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18404367)

When a black hole forms, the matter trapped within the event horizon has (for all intents and purposes) left our universe.
No, I don't think so. The matter is still there warping space with its gravity. The inability to get it back out is an entropy problem, not a conservation-of-mass-and-energy problem.

The intense bursts of radiation observed from the vicinity of black holes (especially those forming as a result of supernovae) are generally the result of some pretty extreme interactions just before the matter enters the black hole, as this matter is subject to extreme heating and compression and such - enough, even, to perform fusion on some pretty tough stuff and get metals as heavy as uranium.

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18407037)

I see you have a misconception on how gravity works:

Matter doesn't warp space.

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (1)

tm2b (42473) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409067)

When a black hole forms, the matter trapped within the event horizon has (for all intents and purposes) left our universe.
Well, unless you believe in Hawking radiation [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Actually, I see a correlation with black-holes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18411309)

If this were true, wouldn't black hole have (near) zero gravitational impact?

um, ... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18403795)

Matt Damon!!

Re:um, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18405125)

Are you also a member of the Film Actors Guild?

Too long of a time delay? (5, Interesting)

cyberbob2351 (1075435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18403859)

With explosions that size, wouldn't 203 seconds of lagtime before observation be a huge killer of the results?

Furthermore, is there any possibility of a dipole radiation distribution for the fraction of linear polarization? Perhaps for this particular sample, we caught the glimpse of a stellar pole? Wouldn't we need a larger sample size to make a more conclusive prediction if this was the case?

Re:Too long of a time delay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18403969)

It's not too long of a delay, but detecting light 200 sec after the burst hasn't been impressive for a while.

Re:Too long of a time delay? (2, Informative)

Winter Lightning (88187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18404855)

This isn't merely light detection, it's polarimety; 203 seconds is impressively
fast, since previous attempts have taken several hours. Furthermore, the novel
polarimeter they built allows instantaneous measurement of polarisation and position
angle. These objects may be changing quickly so conventional optical polarimety
won't work.

Re:Too long of a time delay? (4, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18404097)

Furthermore, is there any possibility of a dipole radiation distribution for the fraction of linear polarization?

I think you're on to something here. Whoever created that thing could have screwed up any number of things:

- Incorrect dipole length, creating a bad radiation pattern
- Bad impedance match
- Incorrect balun use-- it is not needed unless the feed is unbalanced
- Forgot to factor in dielectric constants, although this is in vacuum so should be safe here

I would measure the VSWR and go from there.

Re:Too long of a time delay? (2, Funny)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410991)

I'm not sure that I get why parent's post is funny... Did I miss something?

Re:Too long of a time delay? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#18423519)

Either we're both missing some incredibly obscure reference, or idiot moderators think radio terms are funny.

Re:Too long of a time delay? (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18423661)

OK, so I'm not the only one... I thought it was a meme I should have gotten.

Re:Too long of a time delay? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18404701)

Perhaps for this particular sample, we caught the glimpse of a stellar pole?

If it's emitted directionally perhaps you can only observe it when you're looking at a pole.

Nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18403913)

Glad to see that the recently launched gamma-wave detectors are producing results.

that doesn't make sense (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18404487)

they phrased it like every single one is the same. Maybe some tend to magnetize the matter and some don't and this one didn't. Duh.

newest speculations (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18404999)

Its a magnetar burp. Google magnetar+GRB

MARE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18406397)

OpenBSD guys. They it atempts to Politics openly.
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