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EarthSky // Science Wire, Space Release Date: May 28, 2014

A gamma ray burst from the Andromeda galaxy yesterday? No.

No GRB in M31. False alarm. Darn.

The Andromeda galaxy, aka M31, as seen by the orbiting Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission in ultraviolet and optical light. Image via NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler/Erin Grand

The Andromeda galaxy, aka M31, as seen by the orbiting Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission in ultraviolet and optical light. Image via NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler/Erin Grand

UPDATE. The Swift X-Ray Telescope team has taken a look at the X-ray data, and has shown that there was a mistake made in yesterday’s analysis showing a possible gamma ray burst in the Andromeda Galaxy. Apparently, the analysis error gave the source (located in a globular cluster in the halo of the Andromeda galaxy) an X-ray brightness 300 times higher than what it should have been.

The Andromeda Galaxy is the next-nearest spiral galaxy. It is also known as M31. It is about 2.5 million light-years away.

So, as of now … no gamma ray burst in M31. Darn.

The story began late yesterday (May 27, 2014), when social media started to buzz about the possible detection of this very nearby gamma ray burst (GRB). If it had been a gamma ray burst, it would have been the closest one ever observed.

The Swift mission has spotted about 90 new gamma ray bursts per year since it launched in November 2004.

Click here to read the full story of the false alarm about a GRB in M31.