NASA observatories capture extraordinary gamma-ray burst linked to black hole
NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, Wind spacecraft, and other telescopes around the world witnessed "an unusually bright and long-lasting pulse of high-energy radiation" that came from a gamma-ray burst (GRB). The dazzling bright GRB is considered as one among the 'most energetic and luminous bursts ever seen' and has been linked to the birth of a black hole.
Why does this story matter?
- GRBs are considered as the 'most powerful class of explosions in the universe' and the latest discovery has caused a great deal of excitement in the scientific community.
- An outburst of the same nature is not expected to be seen anytime soon.
- Numerous investigations are still underway to assess the after-effects of this brilliant cosmic outburst.
The GRB points to the inception of a black hole
The outburst termed GRB 221009A originated from constellation Sagitta. Astronomers predict that this event marks the formation a black hole, emerging from the collapse of a massive star. "In these circumstances, a nascent black hole drives powerful jets of particles traveling near the speed of light. The jets pierce through the star, emitting X-rays and gamma rays as they stream into space," explained NASA.
The burst lasted for nearly 10 hours
A preliminary study by Fermi's Large Area Telescope (LAT) revealed that the burst lasted almost 10 hours. The GRB's proximity to Earth is the reason behind its brightness and its duration. This sparkling outburst is significant as it provides insights into the behavior of matter near the speed of light, origin of black holes, and circumstances prevalent in distant galaxies.
OHMAN collaboration alerted about the massive gamma-ray burst
The outburst was captured by Orbiting High-energy Monitor Alert Network (OHMAN), an association between NASA's X-ray telescope NICER and the Japanese Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) on the International Space Station(ISS). "OHMAN provided an automated alert that enabled NICER to follow up within three hours, as soon as the source became visible to the telescope," said Zaven Arzoumanian, the NICER science lead.