Although we are all different, there is one thing that prevails for all mankind: we’re all floating on a rock, flying through space at a million miles an hour.
Thanks to the rapid development of technology in the last century, we are able to observe much more of the universe than we thought possible.
The scale and sheer size of the universe makes it impossible to truly learn everything, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
What’s happening in space this week.
ANCIENT RECORD HOOK GAMMA RAY PIECE
Astronomers around the world were stunned after multiple telescopes, both on the ground and in Earth orbit, detected an unimaginably large gamma-ray burst (GRB).
An “unusually bright and long-lasting pulse of high-energy radiation” swept across Earth early Sunday morning, According to NASA.
The massive burst of X-rays and gamma rays, labeled GRB 221009A, was detected by telescopes around the world, including NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Photo credit NASA/Swift/A. Beardmore (University of Leicester)
Although it was discovered less than a week ago, NASA says it actually happened more than 2 billion years ago, and the ancient light from it is only now reaching Earth. The burst, detected by NASA’s telescope for more than 10 hours, coincided with the start of the 10th Fermi Symposium for gamma-ray astronomers.
Judy Racusin, a Fermi assistant project scientist who attended the conference, told NASA that the explosion was an exciting start to the event.
“It’s safe to say that this meeting really started with a bang – everyone is talking about it,” he said.
The light from GRB221009A was so bright that several gamma-ray detectors temporarily blind. A gamma-ray burst emits more energy in one second than our Sun will produce in its lifetime of more than 10 billion years.
Photo credit NASA/Swift/B. Cenko
Although it occurred 2 billion light-years away, the GRB was relatively close compared to the distance of previous bursts, giving astronomers a rare chance to observe and study such a massive release of energy.
Gamma-ray bursts are not uncommon, but one of this magnitude is. Brendan O’Connor, an astrophysicist at the University of Maryland, said in his statement that this type of event can happen once in 100 years.
“We believe this is a once-in-a-century opportunity to address the most fundamental questions about these explosions, from the formation of black holes to tests of dark matter models,” he said.
NASA’s current hypothesis so the origin of this GRB was the collapse of a massive star that gave rise to a supermassive black hole, which then triggered a supernova.
A GRB was not a threat to Earth, but the explosion disrupted Earth’s atmosphere and ionized the ionosphere, the region of the atmosphere that reflects radio waves used for communications. causing interference to radio signals.
Astronomers’ excitement didn’t end with the GRB, as they now have a rare opportunity to study the afterglow of the burst, which is expected to continue to shine for months.
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