May 20, 2024

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Gamma ray burst caused by star collapse – Telemundo New York (47)

Gamma ray burst caused by star collapse – Telemundo New York (47)

In October 2022, a team of astrophysicists discovered the brightest gamma-ray burst (GRB) ever recorded, GRB 221009A. They have now discovered that this historic explosion (or supernova) was the collapse of a massive star.

The discovery, made by an international team of scientists led by Northwestern University, was made possible thanks to observations of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), built by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). ).

However, Webb's observations found no indication that the explosion — dubbed BOAT (“brightest ever”) — generated heavy elements as scientists expected.

The origin of heavy elements in the universe remains one of the great questions in astronomy.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has published the first images from the Euclid mission, which investigates the mysteries of dark matter and energy.

Details of the research were published on Friday in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“When we confirmed that GRBs were generated from the collapse of a massive star, we had the opportunity to test a hypothesis about how some of the heavier elements in the universe formed,” explains Northwestern University researcher and study leader Peter Blanchard.

“We did not observe the signatures of these heavy elements, which suggests that highly energetic gamma-ray bursts like BOAT do not produce these elements. This does not mean that all gamma-ray bursts do not produce them. Future observations with the James Webb Space Telescope will determine whether their 'natural' cousins “From GRB these elements are produced.”

In October 2022, BOAT's explosion was so bright that it saturated most of the world's gamma-ray detectors. The event occurred about 2.4 billion light-years from Earth and lasted a few hundred seconds.

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“It was an event that Earth only sees once every 10,000 years. We are fortunate that we live in a time when we have the technology to detect these explosions that occur throughout the universe. It is very exciting to observe a rare astronomical phenomenon like the 'Boat' and work to understand the physics behind This is an exceptional event,” the researcher confirms.

But Blanchard, his collaborator Ashley Villar of Harvard University, and their team wanted to see GRBs in their later stages and used the James Webb Space Telescope to examine them.

The GRB was so bright that it obscured any possible supernova signature in the first weeks and months after the explosion.

“In those times, the so-called afterglow of the GRB looked like the headlights of a car heading towards you, preventing you from seeing the car itself. So we had to wait for it to fade significantly so that we would have a chance to see the supernova,” Blanchard points out.

Blanchard used the James Webb Space Telescope's near-infrared spectrograph to observe the object's light at infrared wavelengths and discovered the distinctive signature of elements such as calcium and oxygen that are normally found in a supernova, which surprisingly was not exceptionally bright, like a bright gamma-ray burst. Incredibly I accompanied him.

NASA's telescope has spotted a question mark in space, and experts say it may be a merger of a pair of galaxies.

Missing: heavy elements

Currently, astrophysicists don't know exactly what mechanisms in the universe can produce elements heavier than iron. So far, they have only confirmed its origin through the merger of two neutron stars, discovered by the Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) in 2017.

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But scientists believe there must be other ways to produce these elusive materials, because there are too many heavy elements in the universe and too few neutron star mergers.

One hypothesis is that the collapse of a massive, rapidly rotating star, like the one that generated the boat, could produce them.

However, when studying the BOAT spectrum, “we did not observe any signature of heavy elements, suggesting that extreme events like GRB 221009A are not primary sources, and important information for continuing to try to determine where heavier elements form.”