Science

Highest-energy light from a gamma-ray burst discovered

Highest-energy light from a gamma-ray burst discovered”

The discovery reported in Nature involved more than 300 scientists from around the world.

Two gamma-ray bursts from exploding stars in far-off galaxies have created record-breaking high-energy protons with light from the explosion carrying up to 1 trillion volts revealing the details of these explosions in deep space. We see them too far away.

In the aftermath of each detection, other instruments turned to observe the bursts, and in both cases, they saw incredibly energetic gamma-rays.

One goal was to find out how the massive emission was produced. They last anywhere from tenths of a second to several hours and can emit more energy in a few seconds than our Sun will ever give off in its lifetime. "The photons were detected through the MAGIC telescope", Pandey said.

She said: "The bursts themselves usually only last a few seconds".

The researchers, including those from George Washington University in the U.S., detected a burst on 14 January labeled GRB 190114C, which led to a collaborative effort to observe the radiation coming from the source using more than 20 observatories and instruments around the world.

Astronomers acted quickly to capture this ultra-high-energy light, turning telescopes on Earth toward the explosion just 50 seconds after NASA satellites detected it. When they come into contact with our atmosphere, gamma rays trigger a cascade of particles that in turn produces the phenomenon known as Cherenkov light, which can be detected by a specially equipped telescopes.

During the height of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union, there were satellites in orbit around the Earth whose sole objective was to keep an eye out for the telltale gamma-ray signature of an atomic explosion.

This is equivalent to the kinetic energy released by proton collisions in the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle accelerator humanity has ever developed.

The HESS telescopes in Namibia are on the alert for high-energy gamma rays. It is believed that one or more GRBs contributed to the Ordovician-Silurian mass extinction that occurred on Earth almost 450 million years ago. Using the MAGIC Collaboration telescopes in La Palma, Spain, researchers noticed this emission of TeV photons was 100 times more intense than the brightest known steady source at TeV energies, the Crab Nebula. As part of the joint efforts, van der Horst and Kouveliotou were part of a subteam responsible for tracking the emission of radio waves in the afterglow of GRB 190114C.

The fading afterglow of GRB 190114c as seen in two combined images by the Hubble Space Telescope in February 11 and March 12, 2019. Observations unprecedented new lightquite literallyonto casting mysterious cosmic events and mechanics behind them. Scientists have previously observed the light left from such explosions. At this point, they transform into a black hole or a small, dense neutron star and, in the process, blast out jets of radiation and matter at close to the speed of light.

"We've now seen extremely high-energy light is released in the afterglow period - something that was only predicted before in models - and comparative studies suggest this is not an unusual feature".

An image of GRB 190114C, located about in the constellation Fornax.

"Working together we cover a huge range of the electromagnetic spectrum to advance our understanding of these spectacular explosions". Researchers say that this is a denser environment than typically observed (for GRBs) and could have been crucial for the generation of the very-high-energy radiation that was observed.

"Much of what we've learned about GRBs over the past couple of decades has come from observing their afterglows at lower energies", said Elizabeth Hays, study author and Fermi project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.



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