back to article Beams from brightest gamma ray burst ever seen were pointed directly at Earth

The brightest gamma-ray burst ever detected yet, codenamed GRB 221009A, has a strange structure that astronomers have never seen before. On 9 October 2022, high-energy monitoring space satellites detected an extremely bright gamma-ray signal that suddenly exploded from the constellation of Sagitta; it lasted hundreds of …

  1. Martin J Hooper

    If it's pointing straight for us should we be worried about gamma rays destroying computers etc??

    1. druck Silver badge

      I'd be more worried about it's affect on meatbags than computers. Anyone know what side of the planet it hit?

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Hey wheres my street gone?

        1. Kev99 Silver badge

      2. frankvw

        I'd be more worried about the effects of meatbags on computers. The strength of a gamma burst from a gazillion light years away is so insignificant that you need boffin-grade equipment to even detect it. Users, on the other hand...

      3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        I'd be more worried about it's affect on meatbags than computers. Anyone know what side of the planet it hit?

        Nearby (a few 100 parsecs*) gamma bursts aren't expected to have significant direct effect at ground level(**). Instead they delightfully convert the atmosphere to NOₓ and destroy the ozone layer, so if you survive breathing an atmosphere that turns to nitrous and nitric acid in your lungs, you then can get an exceedingly rapid sun tan unless wearing factor 5,000 sun cream. There is a theory that the Late Ordovician mass extinction (443 Mya) might have been a GRB within our galaxy.

        (*) The BOAT being somewhat further away.

        (**) Unless stupidly big.

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      if one reasonably close, had been aimed at us... these things are like nightmares from hell if you read the literature... fortunately they are (as in this case) from other galaxies,,, but they are NOT to be underestimated... one from a nearby galaxy or even a wave over the hedge neighbour, aimed at us, would make lack of computers a thing our dead carcases wouldn't care about

    3. steelpillow Silver badge

      Time for that reality check

      Do not confuse photon energy with radiation intensity. Even a TeV photon has less than say a dropped coffee cup, and fighting through 100 miles of atmosphere is not going to keep its pecker up. You still need an awful lot of them to get above the background radiation down at ground level.

      Here's an intriguing account.

      Note that the peak of the spikes (i.e. nadir of the troughs) is only about 4 dB stronger than the background. To get the power level you probably have to double that to 8 dB. In real money, that's about 4 times the background level (the matching 4s are a coincidence due to the log scale used). And it only lasted for about 1 minute before the Earth's motion swept you past it. Big yawn!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hendrik van Eerten

    We see through all of that … Erik van Denerhten ….. it’s the Mars Attack ray gun …

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: Hendrik van Eerten

      I think you meant a Uranium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator: >>===========>

  3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge


    prot is making a return visit.

  4. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Narrow core with wide sloping wings

    That is clearly the signature of a Xeelee Nightfighter dropping to subluminal speeds.

    Coming straight towards us, you say? Oh dear.

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Don't worry

    The chances of anything coming from Sagitta are a million to one...

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: Don't worry

      The event was so long and intense that it caused sudden Earth global ionospheric disturbances (both day and night) - a result of the increased ionization by X- and gamma-ray emission (Hayes and Gallagher, 2022; Pal et al., 2023) from the VLF/LF sub-ionospheric signals dynamics in the D-region of Earth's ionosphere (~60-100 km).

      1. Paul Kinsler

        Re: Pal et al., 2023

        Can't find that one ... can you give a more complete cite?

        ... ok, naturally I have just now found it in MDPI ...

    2. theDeathOfRats

      Re: Don't worry

      You had to say that, didn't you ¬¬

  6. Kev99 Silver badge

    Hey, Earthlings. This is what happens when you mess with nukes.

  7. DanceMan

    They're coming to get you Barbara

    I was going to ask how far gamma rays travel in space, but it appears to have been answered. That far, eh.

  8. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

    Must try harder

    Mr O'Connor.

    GRB 221009A BOATY Mc BOATface, do keep up.

  9. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

    Our SHIP has come in

    Somewhere out there is an alien with smoke coming out of the bonnet of his spacecraft.

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