The Earth just kicked off.
On Sunday, a gamma ray burst (GRB), the most powerful class of explosions in the universe, caused a wave of gamma rays and X-rays to sweep across the Earth. It was also the brightest explosion that his nature might have ever recorded. The event was reported in the Astronomy Telegram.
In a breathless press release, NASA confirmed that its detectors all over the planet picked up this, including NASA’s Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope, the Neil Geerells Swift Observatory, and the Wind Spacecraft.
Gamma ray bursts are among the most powerful releases of energy in the universe. Their causes may vary slightly, but they are usually related to black holes. Some of them may be caused by the merging of neutron stars to form a black hole, or when a neutron star and a black hole merge. Because they are so energetic, even a gamma-ray burst that originates on the other side of the universe can often be detected by astronomers on Earth.
Gamma rays are the most energetic photons in the electromagnetic spectrum, and are much stronger than X-rays, which can cause cancer if one is exposed to them at high levels. Outer space is full of gamma rays, although very few of them reach the Earth’s surface, where the vast majority are absorbed by the atmosphere before they can make it harmful to us.
However, a large enough gamma-ray burst could theoretically strip the planet of its atmosphere and cause a mass extinction event. In fact, it is widely believed that a gamma-ray burst caused the extinction of the Ordovician about 443 million years ago. Fortunately for modern humans, none of the GRBs in recent memory have been close enough to Earth to cause this effect. Approximately 30 percent of these are short bursts lasting only a few seconds, while the bulk of the rest usually last only a few minutes.
GRBs were first discovered by chance in the 1960s, and even then they realized that these eruptions generate just as much energy as our Sun during its 10 billion year lifetime. On this latest occasion, the explosive event – now officially called GRB 221009A – traveled nearly 1.9 billion light-years to reach Earth, originating all the way from the direction of the constellation Sagitta. Coincidentally, it happened at the same moment that gamma-ray astronomers gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the 10th Fermi Symposium. Needless to say, they were touched by the symbolically rich timing.
“It’s safe to say that this meeting really started with a bang — everyone is talking about this,” said Jodi Rakusen, Fermi deputy project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who is attending the conference, in a statement.
Want more health and science stories in your inbox? Subscribe to the salon’s weekly newsletter, The Vulgar Scientist.
Preliminary analysis indicates that the Fermi Large Telescope (LAT), a space telescope, was able to detect the radiation pulse for about 10 hours. Astronomers believe that the pulse originated in a new black hole created when a massive star collapsed under its own weight. As a result, astronomers believe that the information obtained by measuring this radiation pulse could provide new insights into how black holes are created and the dynamics involved in a star’s collapse, among many other things.
Because it is believed to have released 18 TeV of energy, scientists are preparing to release it as a precedent, since there has been no previous gamma-ray burst beyond 10 TeV.
“This eruption is much closer to typical GRBs, which is exciting because it allows us to discover many details that would be too faint to be seen,” Roberta Bellera, Fermi LAT Collaboration member and doctoral student at the Polytechnic University of Bari, Italy, said in a statement. Reporter about the explosion. “But it’s also among the most energetic and brightest explosions ever, regardless of distance, which makes it doubly exciting.”
Several media outlets described the explosion in historical terms. Because it is believed to have released 18 TeV of energy, scientists are preparing to release it as a precedent, since there has been no previous gamma-ray burst beyond 10 TeV. Space.com described it as “the most powerful flash of light ever,” while Phys.com called it “the most powerful explosion ever recorded.” Northwestern graduate student Jillian Rastingad, who led one of two independent teams that used the Chile Gemini South telescope to study the event, described the event as “a boat,” or the brightest ever, because when you look at the thousands of gamma-ray telescope explosions that have been detected since The ’90s, that’s a separate one. “
About outer space
#Earth #kicked #biggest #gamma #ray #burst