Astronomy:GRB 971214

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GRB 971214

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 was before it was established that gamma-ray bursts are beamed towards the Earth. Thus, at the time of the discovery it was hypothesized by G. Djorgovski and his collaborators 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, a couple of years later it was 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.[1][2] 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.

Since the beaming phenomenon was not yet established at the time of the discovery, the media responded by giving GRB 971214 the nickname Big Bang 2.[3]


  1. Sari, R.; Piran, T.; Halpern, J. P. (1999). "Jets in Gamma-Ray Bursts". Astrophysical Journal 519 (1): L17–L20. doi:10.1086/312109. Bibcode1999ApJ...519L..17S. 
  2. Frail, D.A. (2001). "Beaming in Gamma-Ray Bursts: Evidence for a Standard Energy Reservoir". Astrophysical Journal 562 (1): L55–L58. doi:10.1086/338119. Bibcode2001ApJ...562L..55F. 
  3. Schilling, Govert (2002). Flash! The hunt for the biggest explosions in the universe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 152. ISBN 0-521-80053-6. 

External links

Preceded by
GRB 970508
Most distant gamma-ray burst
1997 — 2000
Succeeded by
GRB 000131

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