The birth of a black hole created the brightest space explosion ever seen
On October 9, 2022, telescopes around the world captured the brightest cosmic explosion of all time, a gamma-ray burst dubbed “BOAT” so rare scientists couldn’t explain it. Now, an international team, led by the University of Washington, has published an article in the journal Science Advances in which it explains why this outburst, which was dubbed the “Brightest of All Time” (BOAT, for its acronym in in English) was so dazzling. Gamma-ray bursts are the most violent and energetic explosions in the universe, capable of releasing the same amount of energy in a few seconds as the Sun throughout its lifetime.
On October 9, 2022, the outburst GRB 221009A occurred after the collapse of a very massive star and the subsequent birth of a black hole. all of this 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 unusually large amount of stellar material with it. The researchers found that the jet from GRB 221009A had a narrow core “with broad, raked wings,” a feature that set it apart from the types of jets seen in gamma-ray bursts produced by other cataclysms. That feature could also explain why scientists continued to see GRB 221009A’s multi-wavelength glow for months after the explosion, the study concludes.
This finding is “a huge step forward in our understanding of gamma-ray bursts and demonstrates 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 University of Washington 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 last October. “GRB 221009A could be the Rosetta stone equivalent of long GRBs, forcing us to revise our standard theories of how relativistic outflows form in collapsing massive stars,” O’Connor says.
Los hallazgos impulsarán futuros estudios de las explosiones de rayos gamma y motivarán a los científicos a crear simulaciones de las estructuras de los chorros de las explosiones de rayos gamma.
“Durante mucho tiempo hemos pensado que los chorros tenían forma de cucurucho de helado”, afirma Alexander van der Horst, profesor de Física en la Universidad de Washington y coautor del estudio.