May 18, 2024

Astronomers Discover Never-Before-Seen Way To Destroy a Star

Reasonably low-mass stars like our Sun slough off their outer layers in old age and eventually fade to become white dwarf stars. More huge stars burn brighter and die faster in catastrophic supernova explosions, creating ultradense items like neutron stars and black holes. Their cores, however, are teeming with stars and a menagerie of ultra-dense outstanding remnants, such as white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes. Astronomers studying a powerful gamma-ray burst (GRB) with the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSFs NOIRLab, may have observed a never-before-seen way to ruin a star. Unlike many GRBs, which are caused by blowing up huge stars or the possibility mergers of neutron stars, astronomers have actually concluded that this GRB came instead from the accident of stars or outstanding residues in the jam-packed environment surrounding a supermassive black hole at the core of an ancient galaxy.

Reference: “A long-duration gamma-ray burst of dynamical origin from the nucleus of an ancient galaxy” by Andrew J. Levan, Daniele B. Malesani, Benjamin P. Gompertz, Anya E. Nugent, Matt Nicholl, Samantha R. Oates, Daniel A. Perley, Jillian Rastinejad, Brian D. Metzger, Steve Schulze, Elizabeth R. Stanway, Anne Inkenhaag, Tayyaba Zafar, J. Feliciano Agüí Fernández, Ashley A. Chrimes, Kornpob Bhirombhakdi, Antonio de Ugarte Postigo, Wen-fai Fong, Andrew S. Fruchter, Giacomo Fragione, Johan P. U. Fynbo, Nicola Gaspari, Kasper E. Heintz, Jens Hjorth, Pall Jakobsson, Peter G. Jonker, Gavin P. Lamb, Ilya Mandel, Soheb Mandhai, Maria E. Ravasio, Jesper Sollerman and Nial R. Tanvir, 22 June 2023, Nature Astronomy.DOI: 10.1038/ s41550-023-01998-8.

Revealing New Discoveries
While looking for the origins of a long-duration gamma-ray burst (GRB), astronomers using the Gemini South telescope in Chile, part of the International Gemini Observatory run by NSFs NOIRLab, as well as the Nordic Optical Telescope and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, have uncovered evidence of a demolition-derby-like collision of stars or excellent remnants in the disorderly and largely jam-packed region near an ancient galaxys supermassive black hole.
” These brand-new results reveal that stars can meet their death in a few of the densest areas of deep space where they can be driven to clash,” stated Andrew Levan, an astronomer with Radboud University in The Netherlands and lead author of a paper appearing in the journal Nature Astronomy. “This is amazing for comprehending how stars pass away and for answering other concerns, such as what unanticipated sources might develop gravitational waves that we might detect on Earth.”
Observational Evidence and Findings
Ancient galaxies are long past their star-forming prime and would have couple of, if any, remaining huge stars, the primary source of long GRBs. Their cores, nevertheless, are bursting with stars and a menagerie of ultra-dense excellent residues, such as white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes. Astronomers have actually long believed that in the rough beehive of activity surrounding a supermassive great void, it would just refer time till two stellar items clash to produce a GRB. Evidence for that kind of merger, nevertheless, has been evasive.
Astronomers studying an effective gamma-ray burst (GRB) with the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSFs NOIRLab, might have observed a never-before-seen way to destroy a star. Unlike the majority of GRBs, which are brought on by taking off enormous stars or the chance mergers of neutron stars, astronomers have actually concluded that this GRB came rather from the accident of stars or outstanding residues in the packed environment surrounding a supermassive black hole at the core of an ancient galaxy. Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/ AURA/M. Garlick/M. Zamani
The first hints that such an event had actually occurred were seen on 19 October 2019 when NASAs Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory identified an intense flash of gamma rays that lasted for a little more than one minute. Any GRB lasting more than 2 seconds is considered “long.” Such bursts usually come from the supernova death of stars at least 10 times the mass of our Sun– but not always.
The scientists then utilized Gemini South to make long-lasting observations of the GRBs fading afterglow to discover more about its origins. The observations enabled the astronomers to identify the area of the GRB to a region less than 100 light-years from the nucleus of an ancient galaxy, which placed it really near the galaxys supermassive great void. The researchers also discovered no evidence of a matching supernova, which would leave its imprint on the light studied by Gemini South.
Insights into GRB Origins
” Our follow-up observation told us that rather than being an enormous star collapsing, the burst was more than likely triggered by the merger of two compact items,” stated Levan. “By pinpointing its place to the center of a formerly recognized ancient galaxy, we had the first alluring evidence of a brand-new pathway for stars to satisfy their demise.”
From a dizzying height, the full scale and remoteness of the Gemini South telescope, one half of the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSFs NOIRLab, can be realized. Located on the mountain Cerro Pachón at 2715 meters (8900 feet) above sea level, Gemini South advantages from the stable conditions of the regional atmosphere. The dry air that eases the seeing for the telescope is nearly palpable above the sprawling Chilean Andes in the background. This image also captures the 8-meter mirror of the telescope looking through the dome structure, an unusual event for the daytime hours, and the solar panels (bottom right), which power the telescope during the nighttime observations of the southern skies. Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/ AURA/T. Matsopoulos
In typical galactic environments, the production of long GRBs from colliding excellent remnants such as neutron stars and great voids is believed to be vanishingly uncommon. The cores of ancient galaxies, however, are anything but regular and there might be a million or more stars packed into a region just a few light-years across. Such extreme population density may be terrific sufficient that periodic stellar accidents can occur, specifically under the titanic gravitational impact of a supermassive black hole, which would alarm the movements of stars and send them careening in random instructions. Eventually, these wayward stars would merge and intersect, setting off a titanic surge that could be observed from vast cosmic ranges.
It is possible that such occasions occur regularly in likewise crowded areas throughout the Universe however have gone undetected until this point. A possible factor for their obscurity is that galactic centers are teeming with dust and gas, which could obscure both the initial flash of the GRB and the resulting afterglow. This specific GRB, recognized as GRB 191019A, may be an unusual exception, enabling astronomers to detect the burst and study its after effects.
Future Research and Implications
The researchers would like to discover more about these events. Their hope is to match a GRB detection with a corresponding gravitational-wave detection, which would reveal more about their real nature and verify their origins, even in the murkiest of environments. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, when it comes online in 2025, will be important in this kind of research.
” Studying gamma-ray bursts like these is an excellent example of how the field is actually advanced by many facilities interacting, from the detection of the GRB, to the discoveries of afterglows and ranges with telescopes like Gemini, through to comprehensive dissection of events with observations throughout the electro-magnetic spectrum,” stated Levan.
” These observations include to Geminis rich heritage developing our understanding of outstanding evolution,” says Martin Still, NSFs program director for the International Gemini Observatory. “The time sensitive observations are a testament to Geminis nimble operations and level of sensitivity to distant, dynamic occasions across deep space.”
Reference: “A long-duration gamma-ray burst of dynamical origin from the nucleus of an ancient galaxy” by Andrew J. Levan, Daniele B. Malesani, Benjamin P. Gompertz, Anya E. Nugent, Matt Nicholl, Samantha R. Oates, Daniel A. Perley, Jillian Rastinejad, Brian D. Metzger, Steve Schulze, Elizabeth R. Stanway, Anne Inkenhaag, Tayyaba Zafar, J. Feliciano Agüí Fernández, Ashley A. Chrimes, Kornpob Bhirombhakdi, Antonio de Ugarte Postigo, Wen-fai Fong, Andrew S. Fruchter, Giacomo Fragione, Johan P. U. Fynbo, Nicola Gaspari, Kasper E. Heintz, Jens Hjorth, Pall Jakobsson, Peter G. Jonker, Gavin P. Lamb, Ilya Mandel, Soheb Mandhai, Maria E. Ravasio, Jesper Sollerman and Nial R. Tanvir, 22 June 2023, Nature Astronomy.DOI: 10.1038/ s41550-023-01998-8.
For more on this discovery:.

Using the Gemini South telescope, astronomers have possibly found a new way stars can be ruined: by colliding near a supermassive black hole in an ancient galaxy. This discovery uses a fresh viewpoint on the environments around these black holes and the unnoticed accidents taking place within
Astronomers studying an effective gamma-ray burst (GRB) with the Gemini South telescope, operated by NSFs NOIRLab, may have discovered a never-before-seen way to damage a star. Unlike the majority of GRBs, which are caused by taking off huge stars or the possibility mergers of neutron stars, astronomers have concluded that this GRB came instead from the accident of stars or excellent residues in the loaded environment surrounding a supermassive great void at the core of an ancient galaxy.
The Nature of Star Deaths
Fairly low-mass stars like our Sun slough off their external layers in old age and eventually fade to end up being white dwarf stars. More enormous stars burn brighter and die quicker in cataclysmic supernova explosions, producing ultradense things like neutron stars and black holes.
This artists impression illustrates how astronomers studying an effective gamma-ray burst (GRB) with the Gemini South telescope, run by NSFs NOIRLab, might have detected a never-before-seen way to damage a star. Unlike the majority of GRBs, which are triggered by blowing up huge stars or the chance mergers of neutron stars, astronomers have actually concluded that this GRB came instead from the accident of stars or excellent residues in the loaded environment surrounding a supermassive great void at the core of an ancient galaxy.