Project Vela — a nuclear explosion on the moon. Side effect

In 1958, the command of the U.S. Air Force would like to arrange a nuclear explosion on the moon. Project Vela for a long time has been hidden behind lock and key. It only declassified in 2000.

Further plans did not get, but in Washington think about how to detect Soviet nuclear tests on the Moon, if these "insidious communists" will try to conduct them.

A physicist at Los Alamos Stirling Colgate (From the founding family of the famous perfume company) recommended use for this purpose satellites equipped with airborne detectors gamma radiation, that necessarily accompanies the nuclear blast.

Project Vela 

This project is approved and named Vela, from the Spanish verb velar — duty, to monitor.

Machines Vela family went into orbit in pairs (the first — in 1963). First, their equipment not particularly sensitive, but running in the April 1967 350-kg satellites Vela-4 has been equipped with quite decent range sensors. They are something was destined to enter into the history of astronomy.

It happened like this. Satellite signals are issued in the form of computer printouts, but analyzed them by hand — time automatic processing such data, not yet.

Mystery of gamma-ray bursts

This involved a small group of Los Alamos, which is a real-time work could not manage. So it happened that on the data for the mid-summer '67 for the first time looked at until March 69th. Just then Ray Klibsadel and Roy Olson found on the printouts of July 2, two pulses of cosmic gamma radiation. The first was very short, and the second lasted for more than two seconds.

Scientists were pretty puzzled. It was clear that a nuclear explosion, these impulses had nothing to do and could not have. According to historical records, July 2, 67 was not observed supernova (a star), no eruption on the sun, which can also make itself known gamma-ray flux.

Since there were no other explanation, the discoverers of the mysterious phenomenon and decided to wait for a tunnel information. Were ready to launch satellites Vela-5, and a year later they were followed by the twin satellites of the sixth pair. They found the best equipment, rather than the Vela-4 and Klibsadel colleagues hoped that with the help of the situation becomes clearer.

Indeed, by the summer of '73 devices with 16 gamma-ray bursts, the sources of which, apparently, were distributed over the sky at random. It was obvious that their sources very far from the Earth, and that at the time of these pulses has tremendous energy.

Now there was no doubt of the seriousness of discoveries. Klibsadel, Olson and worked with Ian Strong first reported about it in the article, published June 1, 1973 in the pages of Astrophysical Journal Letters. A few days Klibsadel spoke at the session successfully came to the rescue of the American Astronomical Society.

War of extraterrestrial civilizations

Among the audience wormed reporter wanted to know can you explain the flash nuclear battles alien civilizations. Klibsadel expressed in the sense that underground nuclear explosions have very different gamma signature, but a priori to deny the possibility of galactic battles he does it.

The hungry, the journalist had the sensation of this innocent comment for an article on Star Wars, which appeared in the popular tabloid National Enquirer. Therefore, we find that the astronomers and the general public know about gamma-ray bursts almost simultaneously.

Since then, these outbreaks have learned a lot. Their standard name gamma-ray bursts (or GRBs), gamma-ray bursts. We now know that about a third of bursts spread over a very short time, on average, less than half a second.

Other bursts where duration — from seconds to tens of minutes. Apparently, one of the bursts detected by satellites Vela-4, belonging to the family of short gamma-ray bursts, the second one — long.

Exploding stars

Astrophysicists believe that long bursts occur in explosions of very massive stars, completely exhausted its thermonuclear fuel. Such explosions leave behind black holes or, or strongly magnetized neutron stars called magnetars.

The dying star ejects into space powerful streams of charged particles traveling almost the same as the speed of light. Such flows (as the astrophysics, jets) are emitted in both directions along the axis of rotation of the star. Particles inside the jet twisted magnetic fields and thus emit powerful gamma rays. If one of the axes of the star points in our direction, gamma radiation falls to earth and is recorded as a long gamma-ray burst.

For short bursts has long come up with another mechanism. It is believed that they are likely to arise when two magnetars orbit each other. Such pairs emit gravitational waves carry away some of their power. Magnetars so close to each other and eventually merge together in a gigantic explosion.

Astrophysics twenty years believed that the energy of the explosion is somehow transformed into gamma rays. The whole question was exactly how it happens.

Perhaps now that it found the answer.

American and German scientists have simulated the collision of a pair of neutron stars on a supercomputer Damiana, owned by the Potsdam Institute for Albert Einstein.

They have counted only the processes occurring during the first 35 midllisekund after collision — and even that the computer took about seven weeks! It turned out that collision produces a rapidly rotating black hole surrounded by a superhot plasma, heated to about 10 billion degrees.

Plasma particles move around the hole at nearly the speed and thus generate superstrong magnetic field along the axis of rotation. These fields are created in the surrounding expanding funnel, through which erupt jets that generate short bursts of gamma rays.

True, the authors of the new work did not bring their simulations to the stage of formation of jets themselves — not enough computer time. However, theorists have long shown that birth jets promotes exactly the configuration of magnetic fields, which are issued by the computer.

Of course, this conclusion is based on very complex calculations, but to some extent it can be explained even "fingers." The magnetic field of the hole like a newborn on the magnetic field of the planet, in the sense that in both cases, the magnetic field lines emerge from one pole and part of another (such fields are called — poloidal). Earth's magnetic field is not torn, as the black hole, but in structure they are about the same.

The magnetism of the planet also produces a pair of craters, going into outer space from the north and south poles. Just do not throw these funnels charged particles, and tighten them to himself.

Our planet is continuously bombarded by solar wind particles — electrons and ions are ejected from the outer layers of the solar atmosphere. Near the Earth magnetic field rotates them and sends to the poles because of what appear aurora.

Now suppose that the motion of the particles captured on film, which is then scrolled back. Then everything will look like that the earth's magnetic field, the plasma particles are emitted into space. Something like this is just going around the black hole.

So, if disclosed to a half-century mystery of short gamma-ray bursts?

Let's not jump to conclusions, the work is done. However, it is gradually giving researchers and the pressure, I think, in the end will fall completely under their onslaught. It is possible that this will happen in the coming years.

Due to the fact that the time promise major changes land, people, world view, more and more people zadaetse question the meaning of life? Ironically, while many long sure of the answer to it, though most are still in the spiritual search for answers.

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