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Derbyshire Dave

Exploring the Distant Universe with Gramma Ray Bursts

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Derbyshire Dave

Talk by Professor Nial Tanvir 20:15 at the Observatory


Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest and most violent explosions we know of, and so can be seen to very great distances.  This talk explains what we think gives rise to GRBs, give an update on searches for GRBs at high red shifts, and present some fairly recent results using GRBs as probes of conditions in the early universe.  One particularly topical issue is the question of how the tenuous gas between the galaxies came to be ionized (which it has been since only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang). Astronomers have long suspected that UV radiation from early stars must have caused this ionization, but studies of GRBs are suggesting that UV radiation would have been trapped within galaxies, so couldn’t have.  So there’s quite a mystery there.

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