An international team of scientists used the High Energy Stereoscopic System in Namibia to obtain the best-ever observation of the brightest gamma-ray burst ever recorded.
The stellar explosion known as GRB 190829A occurred just 1 billion light-years away in the constellation Eridanus. This may seem like a walk up the hill. But a typical gamma-ray burst is 20 billion light-years away.
A gamma-ray burst occurs when a star collapses on its own. It forms a black hole and emits enormous amounts of gamma rays.
NASA describes “gamma-ray bursts as the most active and brightest electromagnetic event since the Big Bang. And it can release more energy in 10 seconds than the sun would emit over a projected lifetime of 10 billion years.
The scientists published a study in the journal Science about their observations. The reflectance of the GRB 190829A can be measured for three days due to its very close proximity.
Edna Ruiz-Velasco from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Germany said: “We were able to determine the spectra of GRB 190829A to 3.3 tera-electron volts. which is about a trillion times the energy of visible light photons.
“This is what’s so special about this gamma-ray burst – it takes place in our cosmic backyard where very high-energy photons are not absorbed in collisions with background light on their way to Earth. when it occurs at a greater distance than in the universe.”
The research team consisted of 230 scientists from 15 countries: Namibia, South Africa, Japan, China, Australia, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Armenia.