Hawai’i (KXAN) – The brightest gamma-ray burst in human history was recently detected, scientists with the American Astronomical Society (AAS) announced on Tuesday. Nicknamed the BOAT, Brightest of All Time, NASA said in a release that it temporarily blinded Earth’s satellites.
The burst was initially detected on October 8th, 2022 by Voyager 1.
According to a paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the gamma-ray swept through our solar system 19 hours after it was initially detected. NASA said the burst was so bright, satellites were unable to “directly record the real intensity of the emission.”
Scientists used data collected by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope to study the burst. Eric Burns with Louisiana State University said in the paper that gamma-ray bursts this bright pass Earth “roughly every 10,000 years.”
Gamma-ray Bursts are high energy explosions. They are an electromagnetic event and are considered the most energetic and brightest such events in the known universe.
Where did the gamma-ray burst come from?
According to NASA, the burst of energy traveled about 1.9 billion years. The burst, named GRB 221009A, was spotted in the Sagitta constellation.
Gamma-ray bursts are created when star dies and black holes are born, scientists with NASA believe.” As it quickly ingests the surrounding matter, the black hole blasts out jets in opposite directions containing particles accelerated to near the speed of light,” NASA said in a statement.
The space agency said they expected a supernova to occur a few weeks later, but have yet to spot one. They believe that this is because the burst originated in a part of the sky that is obscured by our own galaxies’ dust.
X-rays released at the same time as the GRB passed through dust clouds in our own galaxy. When these rays reflected off of the dust, they created “light echoes” of the initial blast. These echoes helped scientists determine the location of dust in our own galaxy, as well as reconstruct details of the initial gamma-ray burst.
NASA said that GRB 221009A is only the 7th gamma-ray burst we’ve detected that creates these x-ray rings. The echoes came from dust located between 700 and 61,000 light-years away.
The AAS meeting took place this week in Waikoloa, Hawaii. It will wrap Thursday, March 30.