Scientists have just recorded the most intense electromagnetic event in the universe, we now have on record the highest energy photons ever observed. And it turns out this may be able to tell us something about how these events could have shaped life on earth so far, and just how Friday would be if what happened to nearby. These incredibly intense events are called gamma-ray bursts, or grps for short, and are considered the most energetic explosions in our universe.
Gamma radiation is a kind of electromagnetic radiation, and we’re looking out in space for gamma rays in general because they result from all kinds of the most spectacular and cataclysmic cosmic events out there, like celestial bodies crashing into each other or matter getting sucked into black holes or stars exploding.
Jeremy’s, in particular, can result from two things Manji arbys are from Star deaths and short grips or from collisions between things like neutron stars, a GRB from an exploding star is what scientists think they’ve recently measured with the major atmospheric gamma imaging Cherenkov telescopes or magic to NASA satellites observed the GRB, and told magic to turn its eyes in that direction. And then even more detailed observations of the radiation itself recorded by other observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope.
It was an awesome space to a collaboration to try and measure this event from as many angles as we have, which is important because of events like this release a huge stream of energy when that start dies before it decays into a neutron star or a black hole. And this most recent star explosion, in particular, went out with quite a bit. photons from this event carry 1 trillion electron volts of energy.
That’s the record the most energy of any given we’ve ever recorded. And this event is actually the only gamma-ray burst that has ever been recorded by magic or any other Earthbound telescope because the high energy radiation like gamma rays are absorbed by our planet’s atmosphere, which is good for us because it keeps us safe from that radiation. But it’s bad for observing exciting events like this.
So our understanding of Dr. B’s so far has been pretty limited. Scientists have theorized the gamma-ray bursts this powerful were possible, but evidence of that guests had never been observed until now. And honestly, the energy from this grv has kind of blown our minds. observations from this GRB and a slightly less energetic one recorded in 2018 have opened up a whole new cosmological door for us. Because we hadn’t observed grv of this magnitude before.
We previously haven’t been able to tell how all of this crazy energy is created during the death of a star. So these new observations have confirmed one of the prevailing ideas shockwaves from the star’s explosion speed up electrons that are already being emitted by the dying star, accelerating them to nearly the speed of light, which in turn generates magnetic fields. Those magnetic fields cause those super high energy electrons to interact with photons that are being generated and launches those super high energy photons out into the rest of the universe.
That electron-photon energy interaction is something called inverse competent scattering. And thanks to evidence from these new observations, scientists now have a pretty strong idea that this could be what gives some of these GRP events their extreme energy, uncovering new details about grps and what they’re capable of may seem like some abstract thing happening out in space, but this work could actually have an effect on our lives here on Earth.
The amount of energy released in the latest GRB in the span of just a few seconds is equivalent to all of the energy our sun will release over its entire 10 billion ish year lifespan, which seems pretty relevant especially because scientists think that a gamma-ray burst may have been behind the Ordovician mass extinction 450 million years ago, one of the big five extinction events that totally wiped out biodiversity on earth. And thanks to radiation signatures recorded in the rings of a few ancient trees, it’s thought that a GRB may have struck earth as recently as the eighth century.
So while astronomers are keeping a close eye on all of the nearby candidates, they don’t think that any are likely to blast us anytime soon. But it does still put learning more about grps and how they work into pretty sharp relief seems like an important thing to do. If you want even more unsurprisingly, energetic events out in space, check out this video here and subscribe to Seeker to make sure you catch all the latest Space News as it breaks.
If you have another recent space discovery you want to see us cover here on the channel. Let us know down in the comments below. And as always, thanks for watching. I’ll see you next time.