POT Telescopes have detected the brightest and highest-energy flood of space radiation never registered.
About 1.9 billion years ago, a dying star collapsed and exploded in a powerful burst of gamma rays that headed toward Earth. Finally, they flooded our planet on October 9. They activated detectors on three orbiting telescopes: the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, and the Wind spacecraft.
Those telescopes, and other observatories around the world, quickly located the source of the radiation: a distant object now called GRB 221009A, pulsating with the powerful glow of its gamma-ray emissions.
It was the most luminous and powerful event ever detected, NASA Announced Thursday. Telescope images show how dramatic the explosion was.
“In our research group, we’ve referred to this burst as the ‘BOTE,’ or the brightest of all time, because when you look at the thousands of bursts that gamma-ray telescopes have been detecting since the 1990s, this one stands out, said Jillian Ratinejad, a doctoral student at Northwestern University, in a statement.
Ratinejad led a group of researchers who made follow-up observations on Friday, taking more measurements as gamma rays continued to flood Earth.
The radiation likely came from a supernova explosion: a dying star collapsing into a black hole. It could be decades before another gamma-ray burst this bright appears again.
“It’s a unique event,” said Yvette Cendes, an astronomer and postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Masableadding that a giant gamma-ray burst in a galaxy so close to us is “incredibly, incredibly rare.”
“It’s the equivalent of getting front-row seats at a fireworks show,” he said.
The sheer power and brilliance of the ancient explosion allows astronomers to collect a vast amount of data, which could reveal new insights into how stars die, how black holes form, and how matter behaves near the speed of light, when it is ejected from a supernova. . It helps that the object is relatively close to us, compared to other gamma-ray bursts astronomers have detected.
That proximity “allows us to detect many details that would otherwise be too faint to see,” Roberta Pillera, a member of the Fermi LAT Collaboration who led initial communications about the outburst, said in a NASA statement. statement. “But it’s also among the most energetic and luminous outbursts ever seen, regardless of distance, which makes it doubly exciting.”
Leave a Comment