Telescopes around the world captured the brightest cosmic explosion of all time in October 2022, which an international team of scientists has now sought to explain why it was considered so exceptional.
The international team, led by the University of Washington, published an article in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday explaining the reason for this explosion, which has been dubbed the “Brightest Of All Time” (BOAT – Brightest Of All Time). , in English). ), it was so dazzling
Gamma-ray bursts are the most violent and energetic explosions in the universe, capable of releasing in a few seconds the same amount of energy as the Sun during its lifetime.
On October 9, 2022, the GRB 221009A explosion occurred after the collapse of a very massive star and the subsequent birth of a black hole.
This entire event caused an immensely bright “flash” of gamma rays that was followed by a slow glow of light.
To analyze it, the team examined a large amount of multi-wavelength data from BOAT and came to a conclusion: The initial explosion (GRB 221009A) headed straight for Earth, carrying an unusual amount of stellar material with it.
The researchers found that GRB 221009A’s jet of matter had a narrow core “with broad, canted wings,” a feature that distinguishes it from the types of jets seen in gamma-ray bursts produced by other cataclysms.
These features may also explain why scientists continued to see GRB 221009A’s multi-wavelength glow months after the explosion, the study concludes.
This discovery is “a major step forward in understanding gamma-ray bursts and shows that the most extreme bursts do not obey the standard physics assumed for ordinary gamma-ray bursts,” said Brendan O’Connor, a graduate student at the Washington University. and lead author of the study.
O’Connor’s team used one of the two telescopes at the Gemini Observatory in southern Chile to observe the event in October.
The findings will feed into future studies of gamma-ray bursts and will encourage scientists to create simulations of the jet structures of gamma-ray bursts.
“For a long time we thought that the jets were shaped like ice cream cones,” said Alexander van der Horst, a professor of physics at the University of Washington and a co-author of the study.
“However, some gamma-ray bursts from recent years, and in particular the work presented here, show that we need more complex models and detailed computer simulations of gamma-ray burst jets,” he added.