Liverpool Telescope helps to discover new type of Gamma-ray burst
Credit: A. Simonnet, NASA
Observations taken recently by the Liverpool Telescope have helped with the discovery of a new kind of gamma-ray burst (GRB). GRBs are narrow beams of extremely intense radiation that are emitted along the rotation axis of a supernova. These bursts of gamma-rays can last anywhere between 10 milliseconds and 30 minutes, after which astronomers can continue to observe longer lasting emissions in other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as the optical or infrared. GRBs are immensely energetic and will produce more energy in a few seconds than the Sun will produce in 10 billion years.
GRBs are created during a supernova, when a star can no longer support nuclear fusion and collapses in on itself under the force of gravity. Most GRB sources are billions of light years from our Solar System and thankfully, there has never been a recorded burst in the Milky Way.
There are currently two different types of GRBs:
- The compact binary merger, which would last below 2 seconds.
- The collapsar, which would last more than 2 seconds.