Imagine the Universe!

Swift Song
(by Padi Boyd)

We know that gamma ray explosions happen randomly all over the sky
(It's like a lottery: a ticket for each square degree)
You see a FLASH! and then there's not another till about a day has gone by
(But that depends upon detector sensitivity)
In just a moment they spew energy worth (That's pretty fast)
A value we can't even fathom on Earth (It's really vast!)
But just what's giving rise to gamma ray sparked skies?
Is it the death cry of a massive star or black hole birth?
(Or both, or both? or both!)

Chorus:
Swiftly swirling, gravity twirling
Neutron stars about to collide
Off in a galaxy so far away
Catastrophic interplay
A roller coaster gamma ray ride
Superbright explosion then
Never to repeat again
How are we supposed to know?
How about a telescope rotation
Swiftly onto the location
Of its panchromatic afterglow?


In just a moment gamma ray bursts reach a peak and swiftly fade from view
(It's like a beacon shining clear across the Universe)
But they leave embers in the longer wavelengths fading for a day or two
(It's exponential -- it decays forever)
To solve this space age mystery is why (We wanna know)
We want to catch a thousand bursts on the fly (What makes'em go?)
Their X-ray light disperse unlock the Universe
Measure their distance from their redshift mark their spot on the sky
(They're where? They're here! They're there! They're everywhere!)

(Chorus)

Swiftly swirling, gravity twirling
Neutron stars about to collide
Off in a galaxy so far away
Catastrophic interplay
A roller coaster gamma ray ride
Superbright explosion then
Never to repeat again
How are we supposed to know?
Swift is the satellite that swings
Onto those brightly bursting things
To grab the multiwavelength answer to what makes them glow

It's like a lottery - a ticket for each square degree
It's like a beacon shining clear across the Universe
Swift is the satellite that swiftly swings all over the sky
Swift is designed to catch a burst of gamma rays on the fly

If words seem to be missing from the articles, please read this.

Imagine the Universe! is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
Curator: Meredith Gibb
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2014.
This page last updated: Tuesday, 17-Dec-2002 11:44:47 EST