Biggest gamma-ray burst ever recorded got here from a “common” supernova

Hostile Cosmos: Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are highly effective energetic explosions noticed by astronomers in distant galaxies. NASA describes GRBs as essentially the most highly effective class of explosions recognized within the universe, and they’re primarily noticed in reference to dying stars and ensuing supernova occasions.

Researchers in 2022 found the brightest GRB ever recorded. The occasion, labeled GRB 221009A, has been dubbed the “greatest of all time,” or BOAT. Newly printed analysis confirms that this unprecedented burst of electromagnetic power originated from a star collapsing right into a supernova.

While this discovery solves a thriller, the aftermath of GRB 221009A nonetheless presents some puzzling proof that challenges present theories about supernovae.

The researchers behind the examine noticed GRB 221009A utilizing the James Webb Space Telescope. Leveraging JWST’s capabilities, the worldwide crew targeted on the near-infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, resulting in a transparent detection of the related supernova occasion. This supernova was so excessive that it saturated a lot of the world’s gamma-ray detectors two years in the past.

GRB 221009A was detected 2.4 billion light-years away from Earth, within the route of the constellation Sagitta, and lasted a couple of hundred seconds. Scientists famous that it emitted a number of the highest-energy photons ever recorded by orbiting gamma-ray detectors. Such an occasion happens on our planet solely as soon as each 10,000 years, making it a uncommon alternative for detailed commentary and examine, because of our superior expertise.

The brightness of the BOAT obscured any potential sight for a subsequent SN occasion within the following months. To examine additional, a crew of Harvard University scientists analyzed knowledge collected by JWST six months after the preliminary burst. The house telescope detected indicators of a star exploding right into a supernova, however the SN’s brightness fell in need of expectations.

Lead researcher Peter Blanchard famous that the noticed SN via JWST appeared “pretty regular” in comparison with supernovae related to much less highly effective GRBs. The anticipation was for a extremely energetic supernova following GRB 221009A, however this didn’t materialize. After confirming the BOAT’s origin as a supernova, Blanchard’s crew looked for indicators of heavy parts produced inside the collapsing star.

The cosmic origins of heavy parts like gold and platinum stay a puzzle in astronomy. While the merging of two neutron stars is a recognized supply, it can not account for the abundance of heavy atoms within the universe. Another risk is an enormous star collapsing, which might result in an unprecedented GRB just like the BOAT.

However, upon inspecting the emissions of GRB 221009A, the researchers discovered no signature of heavy parts. Astronomers at the moment are trying to find a proof for the extremely energetic BOAT originating from a typical SN whereas exploring different potential sources of dense metals within the universe.

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