November 18, 2010: As was noted by AAVSO observer E. Erdelyi (Carlsbad, CA, USA) in a post to cvnet-discussion, the BL Lac object 3C 454.3 (AUID 000-BDC-612) appears to be undergoing a bright flare; the object was recorded by Erdelyi at V=13.659(0.013) on 2010 November 10.2708 (JD 2455510.7708). The last flare of comparable brightness was observed in 2007, when the object reached V ~ 13.4 around JD 2454335 (late August 2007).
The AAVSO International High Energy Network came about as an evolution of the AAVSO International GRB Network. The GRB Network was established at the First High Energy Workshop for Amateur Astronomers in April, 2000. The GRB network was a great success, detecting many GRB afterglows and discovering a few on our own. The follow-up of GRB optical afterglows continues to be a major focus of the Network today.
A gamma-ray burst (GRB) is a brief flash of gamma rays coming from an astrophysical source at great distances from us, often from hundreds of millions of light years away. Gamma rays are a kind of light (like visible light, microwaves, or X-rays) that is very energetic, and whatever produces gamma rays must therefore contain (and unleash) a large amount of energy in a very short amount of time. Thus the study of gamma ray bursts is a study of some of the most violent events in the universe.