The brightest blast (astronomical) ever recorded in history

The Brightest Blast

Freaky stuff here. I bolded something that seemed interesting. At the time, the event happened mostly on the daylight side of earth, but I’m pretty sure that some places experienced it that was in twilight or even in night. The only exception is if the event happened directly behind the sun, which would hide visual observations, which is highly unlikely. (Although I will try to locate on a starfield map at home and the sun’s position on that day) Why didn’t some people see this? Although it probably was still a pinpoint of light, it had twice the brightness of a Full Moon. Someone in darker skies probably would have been caught off-gaurd or even question their own eyesight since it was only 1/5 of a second.

This was actually a HUGE event, but angular size, length of time of the event, and the sun were all diminishing factors with the visual output. It’s nice to have spacecraft out there that are sensitive to these type of things.

So, any reports of people witnessing this event or noticed something out of the ordinary back on December 27th? Any astrophysicist Dopers out there care to shed their own light on these beasts?

Also, did any satellites get knocked out on December 27th from this magnetar?

I don’t think this would have been visible to the naked eye.

The article made me assume that it was also in the visible spectrum as well as the gamma and X-ray spectrums. I was thinking along the lines of our own Sun having solar flares that we can see visually as well as our satellites recording the other spectrums. Is that wrong to assume with magnetars…only gamma and X-ray visible, but not humanly detectable?

The brightest blast? I’m always a little incredulous when I read “-est” , like in : the largEST seizure of cocaine (coming from Colombia) (during 2004) (found by the new-york police) (using dogs) (hidden in a car trunk) (during a solar eclipse).

It might have been the single brightest instantaneous blast, but there has been historically a number of recorded supernovae, that were extremely bright and could been seen for weeks, even in plain daylight. I would consider these more impressive than a 1/5 of a second blast.

As 2nd Law said, it was mostly in the X-ray and gamma ray range. I think the article is comparing the X-ray energy flux to the energy of visible light from the moon.

When satellites get knocked out by solar flares, the culprit is usually the charged particles, not gamma rays or X-rays. I doubt this incident has damaged any satellites.

“Brightness” is an instantaneous quantity, and I believe they mean apparent brightness (brightness as seen from the earth). The full moon is magnitude -12.7. The brightest supernova in recorded history is thougth to be SN1006, estimated to be magnitude -7.5. Magnitude is an inverse log scale, so that’s 1/100 the brightness of the full moon.

The supernova of 1006 AD is/was 7,100 light years from us with the magnitude -7.5. This event was from a magnetar 50,000 light years away, shrouded in dust.

This seems confusing to me…comparing X-ray and gamma energy to visible light energy. Shouldn’t the report writer have compared the magnetar’s x-ray and gamma energy to other sources of the that energy such as supernovae, GRBs, black holes and the like? I don’t think of the moon as an x-ray or gamma emitter, so I thought that this magnetar was also emitting visible light and he was comparing that to a full moon.

He did say it was comparable to a major solar flare. But I agree that’s a more useful thing to compare to than a full moon. I haven’t heard of any visible light observations of this magnetar event, but I’m not in this field so don’t quote me on that.

Hey Chronos, a little help here?

Its my understanding that magnetars are X-ray pulsar type objects. Thus, whilst there might be optical emission, it would not neccecarily have been noticed by anything but the optical telescopes set up that are connected to various gamma ray satellites to monitor gamma ray bursters and look for the afterglows of the event. There would probably have not been anyone noticing anything unusual about the night sky that evening.

You can actually view the moon in X-rays; the moon fluoresces when solar X-rays hit the moon. There’s a pretty picture and more explanation here

Sorry, but most of what I know about this event is from the NASA press release. Comparing it in magnitude to the Moon does suggest a visible magnitude, and these things do produce some light in the visible range (even though they’re mostly X-ray), so it’s possible, but I’m not sure that’s actually what the writer meant.