Researchers finally found answer to Brightest of All Time cosmic burst

GRB 221009A sweeps through solar system and is detected by spacecraft which was 70 times brighter than ever seen

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Web Desk

Scientists in their new research have answered why the brightest cosmic explosion known as Brightest of All Time (BOAT) was so exceptionally bright which took place in October 2022.

According to Nasa, the gamma ray’s burst known as GRB 221009A swept through the solar system and was detected by spacecraft and was 70 times brighter than ever seen.

The signals detected by the instruments were travelling for 1.9 billion years before reaching the earth.

"Astronomers think these bursts represent the birth cries of black holes formed when the cores of massive stars collapse under their own weight. As it quickly ingests the surrounding matter, the black hole blasts out jets in opposite directions containing particles accelerated to near the speed of light," Nasa had noted at the time when the burst was revealed.

Researchers believe that they may understand why that burst was so intense. It was pointed directly at Earth and pulled along a large amount of stellar material, according to a new paper published in the journal Science Advances.

Despite scientists' proposition that the brightness was because of its angle, some mystery remained: the edges of the jet were not visible.

Hendrik Van Earthen from the University of Bath said: "The slow fade of the afterglow is not characteristic of a narrow jet of gas, and knowing this made us suspect there was an additional reason for the intensity of the explosion, and our mathematical models have borne this out."

"Our work clearly shows that the GRB had a unique structure, with observations gradually revealing a narrow jet embedded within a wider gas outflow where an isolated jet would normally be expected."

These different jets from normally detected space events may account for unusual behaviours, indicating that these bursts do not always behave as anticipated.

"GRB 221009A represents a massive step forward in our understanding of gamma-ray bursts, and demonstrates that the most extreme explosions do not obey the standard physics assumed for garden variety gamma-ray bursts," said Brendan O’Connor, GW graduate student, and lead study author.

"GRB 221009A might be the equivalent Rosetta stone of long GRBs, forcing us to revise our standard theories of how relativistic outflows are formed in collapsing massive stars."