Scientists say the burst of rays was caused by an exploding star

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Advertisement Scientists had been unable to uncover the cause until now because the once-in-10,000-years event was so bright, 10 times brighter than any previously seen gamma-ray burst.
But they were able to detect the supernova behind the burst by studying its aftermath with the JWST, about six months afterward, explained study lead Peter Blanchard.
Advertisement “The GRB was so bright that it obscured any potential supernova signature in the first weeks and months after the burst.
So, we had to wait for it to fade significantly to give us a chance of seeing the supernova,” he said.
“You might expect that the same collapsing star producing a very energetic and bright GRB would also produce a very energetic and bright supernova.
“We did not see signatures of these heavy elements, suggesting that extremely energetic GRBs like the B.O.A.T.
Astronomers had been studying the extragalactic burst for months after it triggered detectors on numerous spacecraft before calling it as the brightest GRB in human history.
“So, there’s a reasonable chance this is the brightest gamma-ray burst to hit Earth since human civilization began.”


April 12 (UPI) – Northwestern University scientists announced on Friday that they have established beyond a reasonable doubt that the devastation of a star, referred to as a supernova, located 2 point 4 billion light years away from Earth, is what caused the brightest known gamma-ray burst to occur in October 2022.

Utilizing NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the team ascertained that the event accountable for the extraordinary surge in electromagnetic radiation, coined the “brightest of all time,” was the collapse and consequent explosion of a massive star, Northwestern announced in a news release.

Because the once-in-10,000-year event was ten times brighter than any previous known gamma-ray burst, scientists had not been able to determine its cause until recently.

However, by using the JWST to study the burst’s aftermath roughly six months later, they were able to identify the supernova that caused it, according to study lead Peter Blanchard.

For weeks and months following the burst, the GRB was so bright that it covered up any possible supernova signature. It was during these moments that the GRB’s purported “afterglow” obscured your view of the car, much like the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. For us to have a chance of seeing the supernova, we therefore had to wait for it to fade significantly,” he explained.

By using JWST’s Near Infrared Spectrograph to view light at the infrared end of the light spectrum, Blanchard was able to observe the signature left by calcium and oxygen elements that occur within supernovas. To his surprise, he discovered that the signature was not at all as bright as one would have expected given the GRB emanating from it.

It’s not more brilliant than earlier supernovae. In comparison to other supernovae connected to lower-energy GRBs, it appears to be fairly normal, according to Blanchard. It is reasonable to assume that the collapsing star that produced the extremely bright and energetic GRB would also produce an extremely bright and energetic supernova. However, as it happens, that is untrue. We have a regular supernova but also this incredibly bright GRB. “.”.

By combining JWST data with observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array in Chile, the co-authors from the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Utah University, Penn State, University of California, the Netherlands’ Radbound University, Space Telescope Science Institute, Arizona University/Steward Observatory, Columbia University, Flatiron Institute, Greifswald University, and Guelph University were able to distinguish between supernova light and that of the bright afterglow preceding it.

According to Tanmoy Laskar, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Utah University, “the afterglow was bright enough to contribute a lot of light in the JWST spectra even several months after the burst was discovered.”. By combining data from the two telescopes, we were able to precisely determine the afterglow’s brightness during our JWST observations and meticulously extract the supernova’s spectrum. “.”.

Although the scientists are still figuring out how the same collapsing star produced both a record-breaking GRB and a “normal” supernova, Laskar hinted that it might have something to do with the structure and form of the relativistic jets that are created when massive, quickly spinning stars collapse into black holes.

The narrower the jet, which is ejected at speeds nearly equal to the speed of light, the more concentrated and brilliant the light beam it emits.

“Like focusing the beam of a flashlight into a narrow column instead of a broad beam that washes across a whole wall,” explained Laskar. This was actually one of the narrowest jets for a gamma-ray burst that has been observed thus far, which helps to explain why the afterglow seemed to be so brilliant. For years to come, researchers will be examining the possibility that additional factors are also to blame. ****.

The B spectrum is being modelled. A. O. An. T. , a graduate student at Penn State, discovered that the host galaxy of had the lowest metallicity of any previous GRB host galaxy—a metric for the abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium.

Another special feature of the B is this. A. O. 1. I. T. Li stated that could potentially clarify its characteristics.

Despite solving the primary mystery, the discovery created a new set of paradoxes because, after nearly two years of searching, the researchers were unable to find any evidence of platinum or gold, the heavy elements they had anticipated finding.

According to Blanchard of Northwestern, “we were able to test a hypothesis for how some of the heaviest elements in the universe are formed when we confirmed that the GRB was generated by the collapse of a massive star.”.

The absence of signatures of these heavy elements indicates that very high-energy GRBs, such as the B, may not exist. Oh. A. C. T. make these components not. This is important information as we continue to figure out the origin of these heavy elements, but it does not imply that all GRBs do not produce them. JWST observations in the future will establish whether the B. Oh. A. I. T. ‘s ‘normal’ cousins generate these substances. “.”.

NASA declared in March of last year that scientists had determined the “monstrous” October 2022 burst that illuminated our galaxy was a once-in-10,000-year explosion and the brightest ever observed.

After the extragalactic burst activated detectors on multiple spacecraft, astronomers studied it for months before dubbed it the brightest GRB in recorded human history.

It’s simply an incredibly powerful explosion. Eric Burns, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University, told reporters during the 20th meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s High Energy Astrophysics Division in Hawaii that “it is extremely extraordinary; we’ve never seen anything remotely close to it.”.

Adds Burns, “The BOAT is an event that happens once every 10,000 years.”. Hence, there’s a good chance that this gamma-ray burst is the brightest to strike Earth in the history of human civilization. “.”.

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