The team of astronomers at the University of Toronto recorded a sonic boom emitted by an immensely strong, unseen cosmic explosion. Known as the “orphan afterglow,” this phenomenon theorized by scientists for years was finally detected.
The gigantic explosion, a Gamma Ray Burst (GRB), that generated a sonic boom was triggered by the collapse of a massive star located in a galaxy nearly 300 million light-years from Earth. After the explosion, the celestial body turned into either a magnetar (a very dense star) or a black hole. A Gamma Ray Burst is so powerful that it generates the amount of energy our Sun would release over a period of 10 billion years.
“This is the first time anyone has been able to capture the sonic boom from an unseen GRB explosion. In the past, people have either seen the explosion and then seen the boom or on one or two occasions have seen the boom and then looked back and recovered the explosion after the fact. But here we have seen the boom, and yet the preceding explosion seems to be completely missing as viewed from Earth,” said Bryan Gaensler from the University of Toronto.
The sonic boom of an unseen explosion detected by astronomers at the University of Toronto reveals more details about Gamma Ray Burst phenomenon
Brian Gaensler and Casey Law from the University of California at Berkeley made the finding using the data recorded in previous radio observations of the skies by the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS).
“We compared images from old maps of the sky and found one radio source that was no longer visible today in VLASS. Looking at the radio source in other old data shows that it lived in a relatively nearby galaxy, and back in the 1990s, it was as luminous as the biggest explosions known, a Gamma Ray Burst,” said Casey Law.
The discovery of the sonic boom from the unseen cosmic explosion made by the University of Toronto provides excellent details about the nature of a Gamma Ray Burst and their emissions.