Tuesday, January 6, 2009

GRB 080319B

On Christmas Eve, I heard a sermon in which I learned about GRB (that would stand for Gamma Ray Burst) 080319B, an event that was seen on earth on March 19, 2008. NASA reports that it took place halfway across the visible universe, 7.5 billion light years away, meaning also that it took place 7.5 billion years ago, before the earth came into existence. How they know this, I don't know.

One of the many things I love about this story is that there's a movement afoot to name this the Clarke Event since Arthur C. Clarke died hours before this event was seen. “'Coincidentally, the passing of Arthur C. Clarke the day before seems to have set the universe ablaze with gamma ray bursts,' says Swift science team member Judith Racusin of Penn State University in University Park, Pa." We can't help ourselves, can we? Even these scientists, knowing that this event happened before the earth was even created, still related back to a person they loved, respected and admired here on earth.

Happy Epiphany!