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Simulating the Universe’s Brightest Events in a Lab

16 Jan 2018, 13:00 UTC
Simulating the Universe’s Brightest Events in a Lab
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One idea for the origin of gamma-ray bursts, the brightest events, is that they are somehow emitted by massive astrophysical objects, such as black holes.

Illustration of a gamma ray burst in space. Credit: ESO/A. Roquette, CC BY-SA
Gamma ray bursts, intense explosions of light, are the brightest events ever observed in the universe – lasting no longer than seconds or minutes. Some are so luminous that they can be observed with the naked eye, such as the burst “GRB 080319B” discovered by NASA’s Swift GRB Explorer mission on March 19, 2008.
But despite the fact that they are so intense, scientists don’t really know what causes gamma ray bursts. There are even people who believe some of them might be messages sent from advanced alien civilisations. Now we have for the first time managed to recreate a mini version of a gamma ray burst in the laboratory – opening up a whole new way to investigate their properties. Our research is published in Physical Review Letters.
One idea for the origin of gamma ray bursts is that they are somehow emitted during the emission of jets of particles released by massive astrophysical objects, such as black holes. This makes ...

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