Last week, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope team announced that they had spotted something that had never been seen before – gamma rays coming from a nova. Back in March, Japanese amateur astronomers saw a dramatic change in a star in Cygnus and informed the professional astronomy community. Swift took a look, then Fermi, and they figured out the reason for the sudden increase in brightness: V407 Cyg, the white dwarf in a binary star system, erupted in an enormous thermonuclear explosion. It took a few months to examine the data and confirm their results, but now scientists are ready to share their discovery. Check out the animation above!
Posts tagged: gamma rays
When you were a kid, dreaming of the future, did you expect to have a flying car someday? Or to live on the Moon? Traveling into space has fueled the dreams of many people, but the reality is that space flight is difficult and expensive. Though escaping Earth’s gravity to reach orbit is a real challenge, it is much easier and less expensive to take sub-orbital flights – that is, those that reach an altitude of 100 km (approximately 62 miles) above Earth. This may prove to be an affordable way for scientists to do science in space, especially with the technology to do these getting close to being ready for use.
One of our scientists, Joe Hill, builds x-ray and gamma ray instruments… and she also wants to be an astronaut. Recently, she was given the opportunity to participate in sub-orbital scientist training, which took her one step closer to realizing her dream of going into space.