The nature of the brightest gamma-ray flash has been determined

Astrophysical Journal Letters: GRB 221009A flare produced by multicomponent jet

Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have determined the possible nature of one of the brightest gamma-ray bursts GRB 221009A. The results of the study are published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters .

GRB 221009A was first recorded on October 9, 2022 and lasted over 300 seconds. Astronomical observations of the event spanned the range from radio waves to gamma rays, including millimeter waves.

It is assumed that the sources of gamma-ray bursts are black holes formed as a result of the collapse of the core of a massive and rapidly rotating star. The newborn black hole releases powerful jets (jets) of plasma at a speed close to the speed of light, which collide with the outer shell of the collapsing star, generating gamma rays. The collision of jets with gas causes a bright afterglow visible across the entire spectrum.

In the case of GRB 221009A, the afterglow lasted more than 10 days. However, the millimeter and radio wave components of the emission turned out to be much brighter than expected, based on the brightness of visible and X-ray light. Scientists have proposed an explanation for this unusual phenomenon, according to which the structure of the gamma-ray burst jet is more complicated than that of other GRBs. In this case, visible and X-ray light is emitted from one part of the jet, and millimeter and radio waves from the other.

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