When an explosion stronger than 9,000 supernovae takes place in deep space, it may be time to reconsider if Earth is really such a focal point of the Cosmos (provided you think such a patently silly thing).
The spectacular blast, which occurred in September in the Carina constellation, produced energies ranging from 3,000 to more than five billion times that of visible light, astrophysicists said.
“Visible light has an energy range of between two and three electron volts and these were in the millions to billions of electron volts,” astrophysicist Frank Reddy of US space agency NASA told AFP.
“If you think about it in terms of energy, X-rays are more energetic because they penetrate matter. These things don’t stop for anything — they just bore through and that’s why we can see them from enormous distances,” Reddy said.
A team led by Jochen Greiner of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics determined that the huge gamma-ray burst occurred 12.2 billion light years away.
I want to just make an extra point of the next graf in the article.
The sun is eight light minutes from Earth, and Pluto is 12 light hours away.
In other words, while the Sun may have exploded 7 minutes ago and we won’t know for another 90 seconds or so (it’s slightly more than 8 light minutes away), we only know about these explosions now because we happen to be 12 billion lightyears from them (and they happened 12 billion years ago). There’s no way to know what’s happening in this area now – it’s going to take another 12 billion years until this region of space has any indication.