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Swift Satellite marks 10 years of game-changing astrophysics

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Deep space X-ray flash is most powerful ever recorded

It was bright, fierce and thankfully short. A mysterious event in a distant galaxy has blasted our solar system with the most powerful burst of X-rays ever recorded, temporarily blinding an astronomical satellite.
At 0303 GMT on 21 June, a sudden burst of X-rays struck the Swift spacecraft, the mission team reported on Wednesday.

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Listening for the 'birth cries' of black holes

We're talking about the astronomical stuff of nightmares - gargantuan explosions that rip apart giant stars to create black holes.
These events are detected in space every few days thanks to Nasa's Swift observatory.
The spacecraft sits above the Earth hunting for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the intensely bright but fleeting flashes of very high-energy radiation that can sweep our way from all points in the sky.

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Satellite has found 500 of the biggest explosions in the universe

NASA's Swift satellite, whose science and flight operations are controlled from Penn State's Mission Operations Centre in State College, Pa., has detected its 500th gamma-ray burst -- a type of explosion that is the biggest and most mysterious in the cosmos. Swift's X-ray telescope and ultraviolet/optical telescope were developed and built by international teams led by Penn State.
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In its first five years in orbit, NASA's Swift satellite has given astronomers more than they could have hoped for. Its discoveries range from a nearby nascent supernova to a blast so far away that it happened when our universe was only 5 percent of its present age.
Swift primarily studies gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) -- the biggest and most mysterious explosions in the cosmos. On April 13, the spacecraft's "burst-o-meter" catalogued its 500th GRB.

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Swift response reveals most distant object in universe
Space scientists from UCL helped build part of a satellite that has detected the most distant and ancient object in the known universe.
Astronomers from the university's Mullard Space Laboratory (MSSL) were involved in the design, development and calibration of NASAs Swift satellite, which is searching the sky for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs).

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The Andromeda galaxy, one of our nearest intergalactic neighbours, has been captured in higher detail than ever before by Nasa's Swift Satellite space telescope.

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NASA's Swift satellite and an international team of astronomers have found a gamma-ray burst from a star that died when the universe was only 630 million years old, or less than five percent of its present age. The event, dubbed GRB 090423, is the most distant cosmic explosion ever seen.
At 3:55 a.m. EDT on April 23, Swift detected a ten-second-long gamma-ray burst of modest brightness. It quickly pivoted to bring its ultraviolet/optical and X-ray telescopes to observe the burst location. Swift saw a fading X-ray afterglow but none in visible light.


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A montage of comet images made using NASAs Swift spacecraft illustrates just how different three comets can be. The images, including a never-released image of Comet 8P/Tuttle, were shown today during a live, 24-hour video webcast called "Around the World in 80 Telescopes." Organised by the European Southern Observatory headquartered in Garching, Germany, the webcast is part of the 100 Hours of Astronomy project, a worldwide celebration of astronomy running through April 5.

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