Two Gamma-ray Bursts Create Record For Highest Energy Of Light

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Two GRB's from exploding stars in far-off galaxies have created record-breaking high-energy protons with light from the explosion carrying 1 trillion volts.

Written By Ruchit Rastogi | Mumbai | Updated On:
two gamma-ray

Two gamma-ray bursts from exploding stars in far-off galaxies have created record-breaking high-energy protons with light from the explosion carrying up to 1 trillion volts revealing the details of these explosions in deep space. Long gamma-ray bursts, also known as GRB, signal the death of a star as it bursts, leaving behind a neutron star or in few cases, a black hole.

Gamma-ray bursts

According to reports, the photons created from a GRB, released a few million electron volts of energy but the current incident smashed the record as photons created released up to 1 trillion volts. In 2018, the HESS observatory recorded the released photons from the GRB between 100 billion and 440 billion electric volts approximately 10 hours after the initial burst.

However, in January 2019, the two MAGIC telescopes (Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov Telescope) located on the Canary Island of La Parma detected a different kind of a gamma burst that released protons with 1 trillion electron volts of energy. 

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An astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute of Physics, Razmik Mirzoyan, talked about a few theories predicting high energy photons from GRB's but added that things were uncertain. Mirzoyan stated these theories gave different explanations based on how electrons, magnetic fields, and ambient light interacted within the rubble from a gamma-ray burst explosion to generate gamma rays.

He also said that in order to test the mentioned ideas, a lot of teams were involved in finding high energy gamma rays. The astrophysicist further added that his team was also in the process of searching for high energy gamma rays for 15 years but never succeeded.

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However, the newfound information about the two gamma-ray bursts producing photons with 1 trillion volts of energy will enable the team to understand how GRB photons get so much of energy. This particular discovery was helped by the two GRB's from exploding stars in far-off galaxies. According to reports, the explosion in 2019 took 4.5 billion years to reach earth.

Inverse Compton scattering

Shock waves that are created from such explosions accelerate electrons almost to the speed of light and create magnetic fields. The accelerated electrons then circle around the magnetic field lines and radiate low-energy photons and these protons then pass along with protons from other galaxies, getting a power boost and taking energy from these speeding electrons. It is the inverse Compton scattering that gives some GRB photons the extreme volts of energies.

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(With inputs from agencies)

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