In June 2023, astronomers made a fascinating discovery regarding the creation of gamma-ray bursts. This discovery suggests the existence of a previously unknown method of destroying stars.
The International Gemini Observatory, operated by NOIRLab, revealed that a gamma-ray burst it had been observing was generated under unique circumstances involving a supermassive black hole. Supermassive black holes possess immense size and exert an extraordinary gravitational influence. In this case, this particular black hole, located in another galaxy, caused a bustling environment through the collision of stars or stellar remnants. It is believed that these chaotic collisions resulted in the occurrence of a gamma-ray burst, which surprisingly had a longer duration.
This specific gamma-ray burst, known as GRB 191019A according to Northwestern University, is not believed to have originated through any previously understood methods, such as the gradual and natural decay of a massive star. Therefore, these collisions present a new avenue for star annihilation. This discovery has profound implications and raises intriguing questions. Radboud University astronomer Andrew Levan expresses excitement, stating that this finding is significant for comprehending the life cycle of stars, as well as for identifying unexpected sources that could generate detectable gravitational waves on Earth.
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