Scientists observe a flash of light called a 'once-in-a-century event'

A group of astronomers has become star-struck at the brightest flash of light that has ever been seen, probably caused by a black hole forming.

Scientists observe a flash of light called a 'once-in-a-century event'
Published Oct 17, 2022 4:52 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Nov 4 2022 10:52 PM CDT
1 minute & 34 seconds read time

On October 9, astronomers' telescopes detected what is now considered to be the brightest flash of light ever observed.

The Swift's X-Ray Telescope captured the afterglow of GRB 221009A an hour after it was first detected. NASA published the image.

The Swift's X-Ray Telescope captured the afterglow of GRB 221009A an hour after it was first detected. NASA published the image.

Researchers say that the flash of light lasted for hundreds of seconds and was a burst of gamma rays likely caused by a collapsing star that transformed into a black hole. Notably, when a star explodes in a supernova, it can collapse into a black hole, and the leftover matter from the explosion then forms an accretion disk around the black hole. This matter eventually falls inside of the black hole and causes a large jet of energy to be shot out at speeds close to the speed of light. Some instances of this gamma-ray jet have reached 99.99% the speed of light.

Furthermore, the flash of light released photons that carried a record 18 teraelectronvolts of energy, which is 18 with 12 zeros behind it. Such power was even felt on Earth, with reports indicating that long-wave radio communications in Earth's ionosphere have been impacted by the flash. Astrophysicist Brendan O'Connor recently spoke to AFP and explained that he took observations of the event last Friday and found that the event itself occurred 2.4 billion light years away from Earth.

"It's really breaking records, both in the amount of photons, and the energy of the photons that are reaching us. Something this bright, this nearby, is really a once-in-a-century event.

Gamma-ray bursts in general release the same amount of energy that our Sun produces over its entire lifetime in the span of a few seconds-and this event is the brightest gamma ray burst," said O'Connor.

For more information on this story, check out this link here.

NEWS SOURCE:phys.org

Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

Newsletter Subscription

    Related Tags

    Newsletter Subscription
    Latest News
    View More News
    Latest Reviews
    View More Reviews
    Latest Articles
    View More Articles