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7. The Power of These

Gamma Ray Bursts are the most powerful phenomena in the Universe! But what does that mean? Examine the bar graph on the poster. Can you see that the power is denoted using the number 10 and an exponent?

bar graph of peak power

 

• Write out the power output of the light bulb and the power output of gamma-ray bursts in standard notation.

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• How many light bulbs would you have to have to generate the same peak power as a gamma-ray burst? How many Suns would you need?

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Let's try to visualize the great power of gamma-ray bursts!

Organize 7 people in a group. Have each of the seven people represent one of the different phenomena presented on the X-axis of the bar graph on the poster or the image above. All of the people should stand in a line; shoulder to shoulder, in order from least to greatest power. With the first person remaining in place, move one meter apart for every power of 10 difference between objects. See the illustration below.

example of distance related to power

 

• In the 7 person demonstration, the difference between the campfire and a nuclear power plant is how many meters? What is the difference in power between the campfire and the power plant?

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How about between the H bomb and the Sun?

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The nuclear power plant and the gamma-ray burst?

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This page last updated: Thursday, 21-Nov-2002 12:11:31 EST