November 6, 2022
Brightest gamma-ray burst ever lit a distant galaxy Astronomers have named it BOAT for the brightest ever observed.
Gamma-ray bursts are energetic explosions that stop when a massive star dies and leaves behind a black hole or neutron star.
The collapse shuts off jets of gamma rays moving away from the former star's poles. If those jets were pointed directly at Earth.
Researchers announced on October 13 that this new eruption, officially named GRB 221009A.
Possibly triggered by a supernova, giving rise to a black hole in a galaxy about 2 billion light-years away from Earth.
NASA's Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, a gamma-ray telescope in space, automatically detected the explosion around 10:15 a.m. EDT on Oct.
"At the time, when it took off, it looked strange to us," says Penn State astrophysicist Jamie Keenea, who heads science operations for Swift.
The position of the explosion in the sky seemed to correspond to the plane of the Milky Way. So Kenya at first, thought it was within our own galaxy.
If such an explosion went inside the Milky Way, it would be visible to the naked eye, which was not the case.
Kenya soon learned that NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope had also seen the flash, one of the brightest things the telescope had ever seen.