The past 12 months have seen a whole lot of new astronomical records shattered, from exploding stars to faraway black holes.
THE MOST POWERFUL LIGHT FROM THE SUN
Among the fresh astronomical records established in 2023 was a declaration about discovery of the highest-energy gamma ray ever seen coming from the sun, an order of magnitude more potent than had earlier been seen. “The sun is more surprising than we knew,” Mehr Un Nisa, a Michigan State University astronomer and one of the authors who described the finding in Physical Review Letters, said in a statement.
VELA PULSAR SMASHES GAMMA-RAY ENERGY RECORD
More record-breaking gamma-rays were noticed in 2023, with photons pushing 20 TeV detected emanating from the pulsar present within the Vela supernova remnant. A pulsar is nothing but a spinning neutron star that consists of the remnants of a colossal star that once went boom in a supernova. Pulsars are in general detectable at radio wavelengths, but some of them also radiate gamma-rays, believed to be produced by electrons spiraling around the phenomena’s powerful magnetic-field lines.
THE UNIVERSE’S BIGGEST EXPLOSION
The most intense, enduring and potent explosion ever seen — 10 times brighter than any identified supernova and still erupting even now — was discovered in a galaxy whose light has been coming to the earth for 8 billion years, according to fresh research revealed in May in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
THE MOST DISTANT FAST RADIO BURST
The most far away fast radio burst (FRB) ever detected was discovered in 2023. A report in the October 19 issue of the journal Science explained how, on June 19, 2022, a fast radio burst was spotted having voyaged through space for a gargantuan 8 billion years. FRBs are mysterious short bursts of radio waves that survive for mere milliseconds, hitherto in that short fraction of time itself they can release as much energy as our sun does in 30 years.
MOST DISTANT DETECTION OF THE 21CM LINE
The most distant detection of radio emissions linked with neutral hydrogen gas was accomplished in 2023, with the detection of radio waves from a galaxy that we can see as it existed in the universe 8.8 billion years ago. Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India detected the lensed 21cm radio signal. Radio telescopes regularly observe the 21cm line in our Milky Way galaxy but galaxies in the distant universe are typically too faint to be detected at this wavelength. But if a galaxy’s light, including its radio emission, is magnified by an intervening gravitational lens, then detection of the radio emission becomes easy. That’s the case with SDSSJ0826+5630. That’s the reason why the radio signal in question has been referred to as lensed 21cm radio signal.
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