Indian Astronomers Detected ‘fizzled Shortest Gamma-ray Burst’

A group of astronomers, including from India, have detected a very short, powerful burst of high-energy radiation that lasted for about a second and had been racing towards Earth for nearly half the present age of the universe. According to a statement by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the burst detected by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope turned out to be one for the record books—the shortest gamma-ray burst (GRB) caused by the death of a massive star. NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a pulse of high-energy radiation that lasted for only about a second. 

GRBs are the most powerful events in the universe, detectable across billions of light-years. Astronomers classify them as long or short based on whether the event lasts for more or less than two seconds. The US space agency said that scientists observe long bursts in association with the demise of massive stars, while short bursts have been linked to a different scenario.


GRB 200826A lasted for 0.6 seconds 

Named GRB 200826A, after the date it occurred, the burst is the subject of two papers published in Nature Astronomy on July 26. The first, led by Zhang, explores the gamma-ray data. The second, led by Tomás Ahumada, a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, College Park and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, describes the GRB’s fading multiwavelength afterglow and the emerging light of the supernova explosion that followed.

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