Astronomers reveal an entirely new way for stars to die

Gamma ray bursts are extremely energetic explosions caused by some of the most remarkable things in the universe: black holes, neutron stars, and the violent death of stars. Now, astronomers have found evidence of gamma-ray bursts from colliding stars.

The evidence was found using observations made by the Gemini South telescope in Chile (administered by NOIRLab of the National Science Foundation)Scandinavian Optics Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope.

TelescoPES has been following a gamma-ray burst detected by NASA’s Swift Observatory in 2019; Affectionately called GRB 191019A, the long gamma-ray burst lasted just over a minute, and using Gemini South, a team of astronomers made long-term observations of it.

They were able to pinpoint the origin of the explosion—about 100 light-years from the core of an ancient galaxy—and based on that observation, pinpoint the source of the explosion. The team was researched published Last week in Nature Astronomy.

Andrew Levan, an astronomer at Radboud University and lead author of the study, said in NOIRLab launch. “By locating it to the center of an ancient, previously identified galaxy, we had the first tantalizing evidence of a new trajectory for stars to meet their demise.”

Because the galaxy is very old –It is at a z-shift of 0.248, or approximately 3.26 billion light-years awayMost of the stars massive enough to die in the region’s gamma-ray-producing supernovae died long ago. The researchers checked the data for a supernova that would accompany the explosion, but their research turned up no supernova.

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But the galaxy’s core is filled with smaller stars and the dense remnants of massive stars. Thus, the researchers’ suggestion: Two such stellar objects collided near the galactic center, and the collision was violent enough to produce its own gamma-ray burst.

According to NOIRLab’s version, although regions near the center of the galaxy are crowded with objects like the one that caused the recently observed outburst, the spread of gas and dust throughout the galaxy (and other similar objects) may obscure such events from view. It’s a problem that cutting-edge observatories like the Webb Space Telescope, whose infrared instruments can help, can help Cut through the gas and dust of the universe to see more intimate phenomenasuch as stellar birth zones.

Like Webb, gamma ray bursts themselves are having a moment. Last year, astronomers detected the brightest explosion yet seen (known as The brightest ever, or the boat), and follow-up observations of the vibrating explosion shed light on The jets produced by the bursts.

The research team hopes to match a gamma-ray burst like GRB 191019A with gravitational waves, which can be found using LIGO-like detector. Meanwhile, the LSST camera at the Rubin Observatory –The largest digital camera ever madeIt will soon take comprehensive images of the universe and produce alerts in near real time when fleeting phenomena, such as gamma-ray bursts, occur.

Moving quickly to capture data on such instantaneous events will help astronomers improve their abstracts of gamma-ray bursts, supernovae and other bright cosmic events.

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