Celestial Gamma Ray Bursts – Brief History and Peculiarities

Gamma Ray Bursts are highly energetic explosions which have been observed at distant celestial bodies. 

They are potentially the most powerful and brightest electromagnetic events known to take place in the universe. Gamma Bursts may last from a few seconds to a few minutes. In case of a short burst, the outer layer of the gas or dust that had been excited to such high energy is pushed outwards to form a cloud of particles. The innermost layer, on the contrary, remains unaffected.

Gamma rays are emitted by many space weather elements in our solar system. 

For instance, when a Comet is inbound, it emits comet prominence and other outward appearances. When it swings by our planet, it leaves a trailing nucleus that interacts with our atmosphere. This interaction results in the emission of gamma rays. Some gamma-ray bursts have produced gamma ray bursts which have crossed the Planets.

Long term monitoring of space weather events such as gamma-ray bursts had not been possible until late 1960s. 

The main reason for this was the absence of an inner structure to capture them. No such structure has been discovered to help the comet or asteroid return to its original form, resulting in it going into hibernation. This lack of ability to capture fast-moving objects makes these rare events more spectacular and potentially hazardous than regular flares and collisions. Moreover, they can be much faster in their evolution, putting the whole space-system in great danger.

Many scientists are convinced that gamma ray bursts originated from interplanetary dust. 

Gamma rays, as we know them, originate from the high-energy neutrons, which are very low-mass. Interplanetary dust consists of such ultra-light metals as aluminum, titanium, and nickel. These metals have high-energy neutrons but are very slow moving, making it impossible to grab them through a telescope lens. This means that if the gamma ray bursts originated from dust, it would have had to travel through vast amounts of gas, which would take light decades to reach the Earth.

Afterglows are thought to have lasted from minutes to hours. 

The gamma-ray bursts observed by NASA were detected only after the brightness of the light became faint and faded. A fading brightness of light caused by an afterglow can result in a perception of a ghostly white or fuzzy image. There are many factors that play into the afterglow’s intensity, but the main one is the wavelength of the light.

Short bursts of X-rays are generally not visible to the human eye.

Although they can be seen by satellites and spy planes using very sensitive instruments. Although short bursts of high energy radiation are not harmful to us, their arrival and subsequent cooling down can cause damage to our ozone layer through solar or cosmic rays. For example, an outburst at a super cloud of gas called a quail can release long-lasting X-rays.

Very similar events could occur around black holes, or other extremely hot, dense centers of matter. Astronomers know about these effects by tracking the emitted radio waves of very low-frequency radio bursts, called Grays, and studying the effect they have on the gas surrounding these black holes.

The frequency of a terrestrial gamma-ray burst can be correlated with the energy of the gamma-rays produced and can also be related to the energy emitted by nearby stars. 

By measuring the amount of energy emitted by a star (called a quasar), astronomers can determine its distance and determine its location in space. Astronomy groups often use these distance measurements to study the composition of a star, and to determine if there are any companion stars within it. While terrestrial gamma-ray bursts cannot be seen by the human eye, they have been linked to the formation of black holes.

There are many theories concerning why such massive explosions happen. 

Some astronomers theorize that these explosions are caused by colliding black holes, which create large amounts of dust that collapse onto themselves. Some researchers think that the sudden rise in energy is caused by shock waves created by a white dwarf star when it spirals out into a black hole. Still others believe that the bursts are caused by a merger between a very old giant planet and a small planet. Whatever the case, understanding how gamma rays are produced in astronomy opens up new avenues of research.


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