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GRB 971214 (1SAX J1156.4+6513) is a gamma-ray burst observed in 1997. It originated 12 billion light years away. For a brief period this was thought by some researchers to have been the most energetic event observed in the universe, but this claim has since been discredited.
In 1998, it was hypothesized by George Djorgovski that the outburst put out more energy than several hundred typical supernovae, or the energy our galaxy puts out over a couple of centuries. However, it was quickly realized that this was an upper limit as it is likely that the burst was directed towards Earth. If the jet had an opening angle of only a few degrees, the burst energy could have been thousands of times lower. The X-ray afterglow and the host galaxy of the GRB have also been observed, using BeppoSAX and Keck II respectively. The host galaxy lies at redshift z=3.4.
- "For about one or two seconds, this burst was as luminous as all the rest of the entire universe". (George Djorgovski)
- "In a region about a hundred miles across, the burst created conditions like those in the early universe, about one millisecond (1/1000 of a second) after the Big Bang". (George Djorgovski)
Both of these comments are probably incorrect, as it is generally thought that the energy emitted by this GRB was beamed towards Earth. Djorgovski incorrectly assumed that the radiation was emitted spherically, leading to an energy estimate that was vastly in excess of what the true energy release likely was. This and other gamma-ray bursts are now believed to have energy releases not much greater than very luminous supernovae. Regardless of the accuracy of Djorgovski's statements, the media responded by giving GRB 971214 the nickname Big Bang 2.
- Sari, R.; Piran, T.; Halpern, J. P. (1999). "Jets in Gamma-Ray Bursts". Astrophysical Journal 519 (1): L17–L20. arXiv:astro-ph/9903339. Bibcode:1999ApJ...519L..17S. doi:10.1086/312109.
- Frail, D.A. et al. (2001). "Beaming in Gamma-Ray Bursts: Evidence for a Standard Energy Reservoir". Astrophysical Journal 562 (1): L55–L58. arXiv:astro-ph/0102282. Bibcode:2001ApJ...562L..55F. doi:10.1086/338119.
- Schilling, Govert (2002). Flash! The hunt for the biggest explosions in the universe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 152. ISBN 0-521-80053-6.
|Most distant gamma-ray burst
1997 — 2000
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