CERN scientists predict supernova

Press Release From: CERN
Posted: Friday, April 18, 2003

A team of theoretical physicists working at CERN and the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel has developed a theory to account for the mysterious gamma ray bursts that come from the depths of the Universe. According to their ideas, gamma ray bursts are linked to supernovae, the cataclysmic explosions of massive stars at the end of their lives. When a new gamma ray burst (GRB 030329) was seen on March 29 2003, the CERN-Technion team immediately predicted that light from a supernova would first become clearly visible on Earth from the same direction on April 8. And so it did (SN 2003dh). This is the first time that scientists have predicted the exact day of observation of a supernova. Until now, they have not been able to predict the supernova explosion time to an accuracy better than a million years!

Although particle physics and cosmology study opposite extremes - particle physics is a study of the tiny building blocks of nature, cosmology the large scale workings of the Universe - the questions they ask are intimately linked. This latest result is a concrete example of the interplay between the two fields.  

Notes for editor

For further information, contact:

Arnon Dar email:

Alvaro De Rujula email:

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