Gamma-ray bursts are extremely energetic explosions caused by some of the most remarkable objects in the cosmos. Evidence of gamma-ray bursts emerging from the collisions of stars suggests a previously unknown trigger for stellar explosions. violent star deaths, neutron stars, and black holes. Gamma-ray bursts caused by star collisions have been discovered by astronomers.
The Nordic Optical Telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Gemini South telescope in Chile, which is run by the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab, were used to observe the evidence.
In 2019, the Swift Observatory of NASA observed a gamma-ray burst, which the telescopes were investigating further; The long gamma-ray burst, which was affectionately dubbed GRB 191019A, lasted just over a minute. A group of astronomers used Gemini South to observe it over time.
They were successful in locating the burst’s source, which they observed to be about 100 light-years away from the core of an ancient galaxy. The findings of the team were presented in Nature Astronomy last week.
The study’s lead author, Radboud University astronomer Andrew Levan, stated in a NOIRLab release, “Our follow-up observation told us that rather than being a massive star collapsing, the burst was most likely caused by the merger of two compact objects.” We had the first tantalizing evidence of a new way for stars to die by locating it near the center of an earlier identified ancient galaxy.
At a z-shift of.248, or nearly 3.26 billion light-years away, the galaxy is so old that most stars in the region that are massive enough to die in gamma-ray-producing supernovae are long dead. The data were sifted through by the researchers in search of a supernova that might have occurred in conjunction with the explosion, but they found nothing.
However, smaller stars and dense remnants of massive stars fill the galaxy’s core. As a result, the study’s recommendation: A violent collision between these two stellar objects near the center of the galaxy resulted in its own gamma-ray burst.
Even though the objects that caused the recently observed burst are abundant in areas close to the center of the galaxy, the gas and dust that is spread throughout the galaxy and other galaxies may obscure such events, according to the NOIRLab release. Modern observatories like the Webb Space Telescope, whose infrared instruments can see more intimate phenomena like regions of stellar birth through the cosmic gas and dust, may be able to address this problem.
Gamma-ray bursts, like Webb, are having a moment of their own. The Brightest of All Time, or BOAT, was the brightest burst ever observed last year, and subsequent observations of the rocking blast have revealed the jets produced by bursts.
A gamma-ray burst like GRB 191019A and gravitational waves that could be detected with a detector like LIGO are the goals of the team of researchers. In the meantime, the Rubin Observatory’s LSST camera, which is the largest digital camera ever built, will soon take panoramic pictures of the universe and send near-real-time alerts when fleeting events like gamma-ray bursts occur.
Astronomers will be able to improve their compilations of gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, and other cosmic events that are only briefly brilliant if they move quickly to collect data on such brief events.