The stars are great. Our own star, the Sun, is one of the great reasons we are all here today. Without it, we would be losers, but while the stars can give life, they can also be incredibly destructive forces of nature. As recent observations by NASA and astronomers around the world have shown, the death of a star could lead to a truly cataclysmic release of energy that would destroy almost everything in its path.
On August 29, 201
As the researchers explain in a new article published in the journal Science, the typical gamma-ray burst distance from Earth is about 20 billion light-years. This latest event, dubbed GRB 190829A, was so close that scientists considered it the “front row” of the star’s death and the burst of energy it produced at its death.
“Gamma rays are bright X-rays and gamma rays observed in the sky emitted from distant extragalactic sources,” Sylvia Zhu, co-author of the paper, said in a statement. “They are the largest explosions in the universe and are associated with the collapse of a rapidly rotating massive star to a black hole. Part of the released gravitational energy feeds the production of an ultrarelativistic blast wave. Their emission is divided into two separate phases: an initial phase of a chaotic rapid process lasting tens of seconds, followed by a long, smoothly fading phase of subsequent glow. “
It is this phase of glare that scientists have had the best opportunity to observe, because the actual explosion occurs so quickly that it is difficult to observe in great detail. Researchers have collected data from observatories around the planet that have been able to observe energy as it penetrates space.
“We can determine the spectrum of GRB 190829A to an energy of 3.3 tera-electron volts, which is about a trillion times more energetic than photons of visible light,” explains Edna Ruiz-Velasco, co-author. “Here’s what’s so remarkable about this gamma-ray burst – it happened in our space yard, where very high-energy photons weren’t absorbed in background light collisions on their way to Earth, as they do over long distances. in space . “
After all, while this gamma ray was much closer than usual, scientists would take the opportunity to observe what happens right before their eyes. Discovering these events and then rushing to point the telescopes in the right direction provides some great data, but more can be learned if scientists can predict when a star will die and see the action as it happens.
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See the original version of this article on BGR.com