Jill (wanderingrogue) wrote,

The most incredible video I have ever seen...

Just watch this video. It's one of the rarest and deadliest things in the Universe, and we actually got to see it.

I know it simply looks like a dot appearing and then disappearing in a grainy home video, but it's actually anything but that. It's a gamma ray burst, an event that occurs when a star runs out of fuel and collapses into either a black hole or a neutron star. They are the brightest explosions in the Universe. This particular gamma ray burst occurred 7.5 billion light years away. And we could see it with our naked eyes. That's how bright it is. That little flash of light in the video above actually occurred before the Earth was formed. That's right. You just got to see something older than the planet on which you are now sitting. Our entire history, the whole history of this planet, from its burning beginnings, to the formation of single celled life, to the rise of trilobites, jellyfish, vertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs, mammals, everything...all the way to us...has happened since that small speck of light you see on your screens set out across the vast chasm of space to reach us almost dead on.

If the gamma ray burst had been closer, say, a thousand light years away, we would be dead. It would rip apart our atmosphere, it would boil the oceans, and it would dose the planet with enough radiation capable of killing life on earth a million times over. That's what I mean when I say it's one of the deadliest things in the Universe.

Doesn't our planet seem a fragile thing now?

And doesn't our Universe just get to be more and more awesome and incredible with each passing day?
Tags: astronomy, science
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