NASA Hosts News Conference Call to Discuss Record-Setting Cosmic Blast


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NASA will host a news teleconference at 2 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 21, to announce new findings about a record-setting gamma-ray burst observed in unprecedented detail by the agency's Fermi, Swift and NuSTAR high-energy satellites and by telescopes on the ground.

The journal Science has embargoed the findings until the time of the news conference.

Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions in the cosmos. Astronomers think most occur when the core of a massive star runs out of nuclear fuel, collapses under its own weight, and forms a black hole. The black hole then drives jets of particles that drill all the way through the collapsing star at nearly the speed of light.

Teleconference panelists are:

-- Paul Hertz, director, NASA's Astrophysics Division, Washington, Washington

-- Thomas Vestrand, astrophysicist, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M.

-- Chryssa Kouveliotou, astrophysicist, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

For dial-in information, journalists should email their name, affiliation and telephone number to J.D. Harrington at j.d.harrington@nasa.gov by 1 p.m. EST Thursday. Media representatives and the public also may ask questions via Twitter using the hashtag #AskNASA.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

NASA also will hold a Google+ Hangout about this gamma-ray burst at 2 p.m. EST Friday, Nov. 22. Details are available at:

http://go.nasa.gov/17Fjewo

For more information about NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/fermi

For more information on the Swift mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/swift

For more information about the NuSTAR observatory, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/nustar

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