Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are among the most energetic and powerful explosions since the Big Bang, and now astronomers have detected the most powerful to date ever recorded.
This bundle of radiation high Energy it was up to 18 times more powerful than the previous record set by NASA. The gamma-ray burst swept across the Earth this past weekend of October 8-9.
The signalcalled GRB 221009A, it was detected on October 9, although the explosion occurred 1.9 billion years ago. It came from the direction of the constellation Sagitta and was visible to telescopes for more than 10 hours.
And that’s not the only strange thing: GRB 221009A was found to have emitted the highest energy of any GRB detected to date. The radiation energy of these events is usually measured in gigaelectron volts, but some have been recorded with energies of around 1 teraelectron volt (TeV).
But this new event seems to have reached a record 18 TeVmarking the first detection of a GRB with energies greater than 10 TeV. Or that’s what data from a Chinese observatory say called the Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO), which is designed to detect gamma rays and cosmic rays.
A record radiation in the universe
This data will need to be verified by other teams before GRB 221009A can earn its place in the record books. Regardless, this gamma-ray burst remains one of the brightest and most energetic ever detected.largely because it is relatively close.
Although 1.9 billion light-years does not seem very close, most of the others are detected several billion light-years or more.. This proximity also explains why it shone for much longer afterwards.
Astronomers say it could be decades before another GRB this bright is detected. Although it is not yet known exactly what caused the GRB, the main suspect is a massive star that collapses into a black hole at the end of its life. This process expels powerful jets of particles into space, emitting X-rays and gamma rays in the process.
It should be noted that, despite its intensity and proximity, this gamma ray is harmless to Earth.. It is believed that if one were to occur within our Milky Way and its beam were pointed directly at Earth, it could cause a mass extinction.