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Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Naked Eye GRB Earlier Today

March 19th, 2008 (05:17 pm)

GRB 080319B was detected in the Northern hemisphere sky (one of 4 GRBs detected today!). It is estimated that it got brighter than magnitude 5.8 for a short time. Technically, this would be visible to the naked eye if you were looking in the right direction from a dark location on a dry cloudless night, and had the eyes of a young adult. A dim star would wink in and out of existence for a second or two.

So, technically it was a naked eye GRB, but it would not have been a spectacular show. More importantly, it was a relatively nearby GRB. Redshift data is not yet available, but the intensity was 30-60 times the usual GRBs, so it is perhaps1/8th the usual distance (a billion light years or so doesn't normally get counted as close, but it is in this context)

There is some hope that some automated survey telescopes collected images of this event, which would tell us some things we don't know yet.