The astroboffins may have pierced the mystery of the origin of the photons of strange gamma rays • The register


According to the latest research, photons emanating from mysterious bursts of gamma rays, the most energetic electromagnetic energy form of the universe, stand out from the relativistic jets spouting from the dying stars of the supernova.

The GRBs were discovered when American satellites were looking for gamma radiation emitted by nuclear weapons tested in space in the 1960s. The military detected signals, but they were not close to at their home. Instead, these gamma-ray photon swarms came from distant galaxies.

Scientists believe that events, which can last from milliseconds to minutes, are produced from fantastic supernova explosions. All the big stars that end their lives while the supernova releases gamma-ray bursts – only those particularly heavy where the old stellar nucleus collapses into a black hole, ignoring the neutron star phase.

The mechanism by which radiation propagates at a speed close to that of light remains unknown. A team of astrophysicists led by Riken, a research laboratory in Japan, believes that they have been closer to explaining the phenomenon.


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They simulated the radiation and motion of the 3D relativistic jets of supernovae with the help of three supercomputers: a XC30 and XC50 Cray from Japan's National Astronomical Observatory and RIKEN's Hokusai BigWaterfall system. The model, published in Nature Communications, revealed that gamma-ray photons are emitted by the photosphere region of a jet ejected from a supernova close to the speed of light.

The jets, made from ionized material left by a dead star, slowly extend as they move through space. The material in the plume becomes less dense and gamma photons are easier to escape because there are fewer particles to disperse.

This triggers a kind of chain reaction when material from higher density regions begins to invade the less dense regions, creating more gaps for the departure of more gamma-ray photons.

"For us, this strongly suggests that the photospheric emission is the emission mechanism of the GRB," said Hirotaka Ito, first author of the article and research scientist at Riken.

"Although we have unraveled the origin of photons, there are still mysteries about how relativistic stars themselves generate relativistic jets." Our calculations should provide valuable insights into the fundamental mechanism behind the generation of photons. these extremely powerful events, "he concluded. ®

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