Scientists may finally know what made the biggest explosion in the universe humanity has seen so powerful.
Astronomers discovered that the brightest gamma ray burst The GRB had a unique jet structure and was pulling an unusually large amount of stellar material with it.
This may explain the extreme characteristics of the blast, which is believed to have been triggered when it was massive a star It lies around 2.4 billion light years from Land In the direction of the constellation Sagitta it underwent total gravitational collapse until birth a Black holeas well as the reason why the afterglow persists for a long time.
GRB is officially designated GRB 221009A But nicknamed BOAT, or Brightest Ever, it was seen on October 9, 2022, and it stands out from other GRBs because of its extreme nature. It was seen as an intensely bright flash of high-energy gamma rays, followed by a faint glow fading through many wavelengths of light.
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“GRB 221009A represents a huge step forward in our understanding of gamma-ray bursts and demonstrates that most intense bursts do not comply with the standard physics assumed for garden-variety gamma-ray bursts,” said George Washington University researcher and lead author of the study Brendan O. Connor he said in a statement. O’Connor led a team that continued to monitor BOAT GRB using the Gemini South telescope in Chile after its initial discovery in October 2023.
PhD candidate at Northwestern University Jillian Rastingadwho was also part of the team that monitored the boat on October 14 after its initial discovery, he told Live Science GRB 221009A is believed to be brighter than other high-energy GRBs by a factor of at least 10.
Photons from the GRB have been detected that have more energy than Large Hadron Collider (LHC) produce.”
Even before the boat was spotted, GRBs were already considered the most powerful, violent and energetic explosions in the world beingcapable of detonating an amount of energy in a matter of seconds like sun It will be produced over its entire lifetime of about ten billion years. There are two types of such explosions, long- and short-lived, which may have different triggering mechanisms, and both lead to the formation of a black hole.
Further examination of the strong GRB revealed that it is unique for its structure as well as its brightness. The GRB was surprisingly wide. So wide, in fact, that astronomers initially couldn’t see its edges.
“Our work clearly shows that the GRB had a unique structure, as observations gradually revealed a narrow jet embedded in a broader gas flow where an isolated jet would normally be expected,” said co-author and Department of Physics scientist Hendrik van Eerten at the University of Bath. he said in a statement.
Thus, GRB 221009A appears to have wide and narrow “wings” that set it apart from other GRBs’ jets. This may explain why astronomers continued to see the boat’s afterglow in multiple wavelengths for months after its initial detection.
Van Eerten and the team have a theory about what gives the boat plane its unique structure.
“The GRBs must pass through the collapsing star in which they formed,” he said. “What we think made the difference in this case was the amount of mixing that occurred between the stellar matter and the jet, such that the shock-heated gas kept appearing in our line of sight until the point where any distinct jet signature was lost in the overall emission from the aurora.”
Van Eerten also notes that the results could help understand not only the boat but other incredibly bright GRBs as well.
“GRB 221009A may be the Rosetta Stone equivalent of long GRBs, forcing us to revise our standard theories about how relativistic outflows form in the collapse of massive stars,” O’Connor added.
This discovery potentially lays the groundwork for future research into GRBs as scientists try to solve mysteries that still surround these powerful bursts of energy. The results could also help physicists better model the structure of the GRB jets.
“For a long time, we’ve thought of airplanes as being shaped like ice cream cones,” said Alexander van der Horst, study co-author and assistant professor of physics at George Washington University. “However, some of the gamma-ray bursts in recent years, particularly the work presented here, show that we need more complex models and detailed computer simulations of the gamma-ray jets.”
The team’s research is detailed in a research paper published in the journal Science advances.
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