The Swift satellite observed a string of extremely bright bursts of gamma rays from outside our galaxy that began March 25 and lasted about two days. Scientists have detected gamma ray bursts in the past, but this pattern of light was completely different. Additional observations by several radio telescopes suggested the flare occurred in the center of a galaxy, and that the source of this radiation was expanding at 99.5 percent the speed of light. This suggested the flare came from a relativistic jet released after a black hole ripped apart a star, which scientists named Swift J1644+57. Swift J1644+57, was the result of a truly extraordinary event the awakening of a distant galaxy’s dormant black hole as it shredded and consumed a star.
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The galaxy is so far away, it took the light from the event approximately 3.9 billion years to reach Earth. According to Edo Berger an associate professor of astrophysics at Harvard and a coauthor of the radio paper their observations show that the radio-emitting region is still expanding at more than half the speed of light. By tracking this expansion backward in time, we can confirm that the outflow formed at the same time as the Swift X-ray source.