Astrophysicists were left amazed by a cosmic explosion that made the ejected particles a trillion times more dynamic than naked light. The unprecedented discovery is a record-setting calculation from an event that researchers are still struggling to comprehend.
The discovery of the so-called powerful gamma-ray burst (GRB), comes with a new veil on what scientists believe takes place when a star discharges. When a star dies, its composition cannot support its own mass anymore, and it disintegrates upon itself. This self-collision compacts the object’s nucleus into a neutron star or a black hole while producing explosions that generate a supernova.
Mysterious Burst That Resembles Nothing Known
These blow-ups are GRBs, and they create bursts of incredibly energetic light that have a short life. GRBs may also take place when two neutron stars crash. They occur daily and generate as much energy in a few seconds as the Sun will produce in 10 billion years of life. As of now, no telescope had spotted a GRB generate photons similar to a teraelectronvolt, or TeV.
“Such a strong signal has never been measured in ground-based gamma-ray astronomy – this is the first time,” said Razmik Mirzoyan, the spokesperson and senior astrophysicist of the MAGIC collaboration, the team that supervises the telescopes that came with the observation.
After the GRB was identified, telescopes located on La Palma in the Canary Islands rapidly altered their position to observe it. The instruments managed by MAGIC collaboration weight 64 tones each, and were specifically created to calculate incredibly high-energy emissions from gamma-ray bursts. The telescopes receive alerts from satellites and modify their position to better register the bursts in under a minute.
Elena Moretti was among the researchers working the night of the GRBs’ identification, and a co-author of one of the two pieces of research.
“When I saw the signal that we could see more or less directly, it was fantastic. I could not believe it,” she said.
According to Moretti, astrophysicists had been seeking TeV photons from GRBs for years, and this discovery was due to a combination of luck and work.
Curiosity Drives Scientific Progress Further
The cause of the explosion was a progenitor star, located approximately 4.5 billion light-years away, the studies note. The more distant the high-energy particles are from our planet, the more prone they are to be eaten by extragalactic background light, and not be seen by the telescopes.
After checking that the identified GRB generated photons in the TeV extent, researchers got the point that the process utilized to reason and model these explosions could not be assigned to this particular even, because of the high level of energy it emitted. However, Moretti said the team is almost certain that the generated photons were brought up to a TeV range energy after crashing into close-by electrons.
Gamma-ray bursts are enigmatic as the scientific field knows no details on how and when they are emitted, Moretti said. She added that the discovery should make people value the interest at the lead of scientific progress.