University of Toronto researchers have just recorded a sonic boom from a very strong and unseen cosmic explosion emitted from a distance of 280 million light-years away. In that spot, a star was once alive, but all astronomers could find about that star was that it was no longer there. However, they theorized the existence of a phenomenon called an “orphan afterglow,” which has now been recorded.
Astronomers researched the space left by the dead star at 280 million light years distance. Looking at the data on the gigantic Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) they recently detected, the researchers realized that the star turned either into a black hole or a magnetar.
The team didn’t see the traces of the explosion but found the ghost of it, which is even more exciting to the astronomers. A Gamma Ray Burst is very powerful, as it releases a lot of energy – similar to the one generated by the sun in 10 billion years.
A University of California astronomer, Casey Law, explained:
“We compared images from old maps of the sky and found one radio source that was no longer visible today in the Very Large Array Sky Survey (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 gamma-ray bursts.”
A Boom From an Unseen Explosion
Bryan Gaensler (the University of Toronto) explained that this is the first time scientists capture the sonic boom of a GRB explosion they cannot see, adding that:
“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.”
This discovery made by astronomers at the University of Toronto will revolutionize the future studies of Gamma Ray Bursts. Experts concluded that this detection of a sonic boom from an undetected GRB would help scientists learn more about the nature of GRBs or how they get emitted.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.