Ancient Gamma-ray Burst

The European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope has shown that a faint gamma-ray burst detected last Thursday (April 23) is the signature of the explosion of the earliest, most distant known object in the Universe. The object has a redshift of 8.2, which means the explosion took place more than 13 billion years ago, a mere 600 million years after the Big Bang.

GRB 090423 was detected by the NASA/STFC/ASI Swift satellite during the morning last Thursday and was a powerful flash of energetic gamma-rays lasting just ten seconds.

“This discovery proves the importance of gamma-ray bursts in probing the most distant parts of the Universe”, explains team member Nial Tanvir of the University of Leicester, UK, “We can now be confident that even more remote bursts will be found in the future, which will open a window to studying the very first stars and the ultimate end of the Dark Age of the Universe.”