A team of researchers managed to record, for the first time, a gamma ray burst or GBR, a superfast, ultrastrong explosion in the outer space, one of the most powerful ones in the Universe. Based on the gather data, researchers are hoping to gain further insight into dying stars and their transition to becoming black holes.
The international team of researchers was led by Eleonora Troja, a University of Maryland assistant research scientist in astronomy and NASA astrophysicist. Researchers followed a gamma ray explosion which they named GRB 160625B, and that brightened the sky back in June 2016.
A Gamma Ray Burst Is Incredibly Strong but Also Very Short-Lived
GBRs are known to originate from newly formed black holes. These are regions in space which spew jets of ionized matter at a speed that nearly reach that of light. These powerful jets also produce powerful and intense but very brief flashes, the gamma ray bursts.
Still, these were noted to last just as few milliseconds, so studying them is a challenging task.
“Gamma-ray bursts are catastrophic events, related to the explosion of massive stars 50 times the size of our sun,” stated Troja.
She then continued by pointing out that, after taking all the known explosions in the Universe and ranking them based on power, BGRs would be “right behind” the Big Bang.
GRB160625B was picked up and recorded last year, in June, by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope from NASA. Although it lasted less than a second, scientists were then able to monitor the space region from which it originated.
Three minutes after the original explosion, the equipment recorded a pulse that lasted 30 seconds.
During this period, the GBR’s brightness increased by a factor of a 100, before starting to slowly fade away.
Since then, researchers have been studying the gamma ray burst to try and better understand how it changed over time.
One key finding was the ability to create more accurate models of what happens as a dying star collapses. Another main point is the fact that scientists determined what kind of radiation causes the bright phase at the burst’s beginning.
Study results were published in the journal Nature.
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