GRB 080916C is a gamma-ray burst (GRB) that was recorded on September 16, 2008, in the Carina constellation and detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. It is the most powerful gamma-ray burst ever recorded. The explosion had the energy of approximately 9000 type Ia supernovae if the emission was isotropically emitted, and the gas jets emitting the initial gamma rays moved at a minimum velocity of approximately 299,792,158 m/s (0.999999c), making this blast the most extreme recorded to date.[1][2]

GRB 080916C
GRB 080916C Swift observation.jpg
Swift spacecraft's observation of GRB 080916C
Event typeGamma-ray burst Edit this on Wikidata
ConstellationCarina Edit this on Wikidata
Right ascension07h 59m 23.24s
Declination−56° 38′ 16.8″
Distance12,200,000,000 ly (3.7×109 pc)
Total energy output8.8×1054 ergs
Other designationsFermi bn080916009
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The 16.5-second delay for the highest-energy gamma ray observed in this burst is consistent with some theories of quantum gravity, which state that all forms of light may not travel through space at the same speed. Very-high-energy gamma rays may be slowed down as they propagate through the quantum turbulence of space-time.[3][4]

The explosion took place 12.2 billion light-years (light travel distance) away. That means it occurred 12.2 billion years ago—when the universe was only about 1.5 billion years old. The burst lasted for 23 minutes, almost 700 times as long as the two-second average for high energy GRBs. Follow-up observations were made 32 hours after the blast using the Gamma-Ray Burst Optical/Near-Infrared Detector (GROND) on the 2.2 metre telescope at the European Southern Observatory in La Silla, Chile, allowing astronomers to pinpoint the blast's distance to 12.2 billion light years.[5]

If all that energy from GRB 080916C could be captured and converted into usable electricity at 100% efficiency, it would produce enough electricity to supply the entire planet Earth with 13.5 octillion years of power (according to electricity consumption of 2008).

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