So a few days ago there were reports in the news of a gamma ray burst visible with the naked eye. Unfortunately I wasn't able to see it, I was clouded up pretty bad down here.
Let me say that again, last week it was possible to see a gamma ray burst with the naked eye.
This explosion was 7.5 BILLION light years away. To put that in perspective, the most distant object visible with the naked eye usually is the Andromeda galaxy at 2.2 million lights years distance, this explosion happened about 3500 times further away. Half way to the edge of the visible universe.
The GRB reached magnitude +5.8, equivalent to some of the faintest stars you can see at night and would of remained visible for about 30 seconds.
Incredible is the only word to describe it, a handful of lucky non-cloud covered people could of seen an explosion that happened before the Earth or the Sun had even formed.
I'm reminded of a quote by Phil Plait:
Why do I do this, why do I fight creationists? You know why? Because their God is too small. 6000 years, are you kidding me?
He's right the real universe is far beyond any work of fiction, any mythology. And of course Carl Sagan:
The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home, the Earth.