Thursday, April 14, 2011
Behavioral Prefaces for Bam Bam
Astronomers have observed
a giant arrow in space
possibly the biggest arrow ever
seen in the cosmos.
When NASA's ARROW
Space Observatory first spotted it
10 days ago, observers thought
it was a massive arrow
blowing up as a giant arrow
and expected it to fade
within hours or even minutes.
But the high-energy radiation
from the arrow has shown no sign
of dying down, which suggests
that astronomers may have caught
a giant arrow in the process
of being ripped to shreds
by a giant arrow.
The arrow is actually a series
of arrows, like a string
of arrows going off one
"We know of arrows
in our own galaxy
that can produce repeated
arrows, but they are thousands
to millions of times less powerful
than the arrows we are seeing,"
says Giant Arrow of the Space Arrow
Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.
"This is truly extraordinary."
ARROW's Arrow Alert Telescope
detected the arrow on 28 March.
The Hubble Space Arrow
Telescope took an image of the arrow
on 4 April, which located the arrows
at the center of a giant arrow
3.8 billion light-years away.
On the same day, NASA's Arrow
X-ray Observatory took a picture
of the arrow by pointing at it
for 4 hours.
That image also showed
that the source of the arrows
was at the center of the arrow
imaged by Hubble.
The position of the arrow within
the arrow offered a clue that the arrows
might be associated with a giant arrow,
as nearly all arrows have a giant arrow
in the middle.
"We think that there is a dormant giant
arrow there that has accreted a lump
of arrows—probably a giant arrow
that has fallen into it," says astrophysicist
Giant Arrow, the lead scientist for ARROW
at NASA's Goddard Space Arrow Center
in Greenbelt, Maryland.
What could be going on is the following: A giant arrow
flitting too close to the giant arrow has been grabbed
by its gravitational pull. The arrow's gas has been falling
into the giant arrow, causing enormous amounts of arrows
to be released in the form of high-energy arrows shooting out
like a giant arrow.
Although this is not the first time astronomers have witnessed
a giant arrow being gobbled up by a giant arrow, the arrows
are putting out arrows far greater than previously seen.
One reason for the extreme arrows could be that the jet
of arrows shooting out of the giant arrow is pointing
straight at Earth.
Astronomers all over the world are working
round the clock to collect more data on the arrow,
and Hubble is snapping more images of the arrow.
"Some spectra have been taken; there's a lot more
work to be done on how the arrow changes
over time," Arrow says. "If it really is a giant arrow
being torn up, then we'd expect it to fade away
in the next few days. If it stays a giant arrow
for several weeks or a month, that would tell us
I'm not sure what that would be."