Spectacular Gamma Radiation From Collapse Of Dying Star Could Change Understanding Of The Universe

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A team of scientists in Namibia, southwest Africa, has recorded an unprecedented cosmic burst of gamma radiation from a falling star, the brightest ever recorded. These explosions usually occur when a massive star – five or 10 times the mass of the Sun – suddenly explodes and turns into a black hole, he said. Scientists said the gamma-ray burst (GRB) was one of the most energetic radiations and longest gamma-ray bursts ever observed. It was one of the closest GRBs ever recorded from Earth, at a distance of about one billion light-years. For comparison: a normal GRB occurs about 20 billion light years away.

The team of scientists said that this observation challenges the established theory of gamma-ray bursts in the universe. Also, this comparative closeness of the event meant that scientists could see the "colors" of the radiation.

Scientists could follow the afterglow for three days after the initial eruption. The result was surprising, he noted in the research paper. published in Deutsches Electron-Synchrotron (Native). According to the DESY website, its research center is one of the world's leading facilities for particle acceleration. It is part of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organization in Germany.

"Our observations revealed curious parallels between X-rays and the post-burst ultra-energy gamma-ray emission," said Sylvia Zhu, one of the paper's authors.

Established theories hold that the two emission components must be produced by separate mechanisms. The event was captured by the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) on August 29, 2019, after the Fermi and Swift satellites detected bursts of radiation in the constellation of Eridanus, according to the DESY research center.

DESY has also released a video explainer on YouTube simulating the cosmic phenomenon. Watch it below:

The video shows a massive dying star collapsing and forming a neutron star or black hole. Then the relativistic jets eject from the star and a supernova occurs. Some of the material is then scattered and accelerated in the magnetic fields around the blast wave. Roughly 900 million years later, the radiation from this gamma-ray burst arrives at Earth and is detected by satellites and telescopes such as HESS. Gamma-ray bursts can also occur when two super-dense stellar bodies called neutron stars collide.


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