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Gamma Ray Burst (GRB)


A gamma-ray burst that recently hit our solar system was so bright, it temporarily blinded gamma-ray instruments in space, according to a NASA release.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Gamma Ray Burst (GRB)
  2. Gamma Rays

Gamma Ray Burst (GRB)

Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are short-lived bursts of gamma-ray light, which is the most energetic form of light in the electromagnetic spectrum. Here are some key points to know about GRBs:

  • GRBs emit more energy in a few seconds than our Sun will emit in its entire lifetime.
  • There are two distinct phases of GRB emission: the short-lived prompt emission (which emits gamma-rays) and the long-lived multi-wavelength afterglow phase.
  • The shortest GRBs are likely the result of the collision of two compact stellar remnants known as neutron stars.
  • The longest bursts are thought to occur when a massive, rapidly spinning star collapses to form a black hole.
  • When a GRB occurs, it is briefly the brightest source of cosmic gamma-ray photons in the observable Universe.
  • GRBs can provide valuable information about the early Universe, as well as about the nature of black holes and neutron stars.
  • GRBs can also pose a potential threat to life on Earth if they occur too close to our planet, as they can cause significant damage to Earth’s atmosphere and biosphere. However, the probability of a lethal GRB occurring nearby is considered to be very low.

Gamma Rays

Gamma rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that have the shortest wavelength and highest energy of any wave in the electromagnetic spectrum. Here are some key points about gamma rays:

  • Gamma rays are produced by the most energetic and hottest objects in the universe, such as pulsars, neutron stars, supernova explosions, and regions around black holes.
  • They are also created on Earth by human activities such as nuclear explosions and in natural phenomena such as lightning and radioactive decay.
  • Gamma rays can be highly destructive to living organisms as they can penetrate through most materials and cause damage to cells and DNA.
  • Gamma rays are often used in medical imaging and cancer treatment as they can be targeted to destroy cancerous cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Gamma rays are also used in scientific research to study the properties of matter and to learn more about the universe, such as the origins of cosmic rays and the behavior of black holes.

-Source: The Hindu

July 2024