James Webb telescope identifies origins of biggest explosion ‘BOAT’ – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The BOAT, which stands for the Brightest Of All Time, represents the brightest gamma-ray burst ever observed. Its luminosity eclipses all predecessors, sparking curiosity and intrigue among astronomers worldwide.
The blast is believed to have originated from a supernova explosion accompanying the demise and implosion of a massive star situated approximately 2.4 million light-years away, potentially leading to the origin of the black hole.
The team of astrophysicists has unearthed another celestial conundrum by unraveling this cosmic phenomenon, according to Despite expectations of finding lingering traces of heavy elements such as gold and platinum around this type of supernova, they are absent.
Peter Blanchard, lead researcher from Northwestern University, said in a statement, “This event occurs once every 10,000 years on Earth. It generated some of the highest-energy photons ever captured by gamma-ray-detecting satellites.”
According to the, the discovery of the BOAT, formally designated as GRB 221009A, on October 9, 2022, astounded astronomers with its extraordinary brilliance. Detected initially by gamma-ray and X-ray telescopes, including Nasa’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Neil Gehrels swift observatory, the burst emanated as an intensely luminous flash of high-energy gamma rays, followed by a diminishing afterglow across various light wavelengths.
Contrary to the immediate pursuit of the BOAT by other researchers, Blanchard’s team opted for a strategic approach, observing its evolution over time. By directing the Webb telescope toward the fading gamma-ray burst approximately six months post-detection, they uncovered vital insights.
Through the JWST’s Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec), the researchers discerned elements such as calcium and oxygen, indicative of a typical supernova. However, despite the BOAT’s unparalleled magnitude, the supernova associated with it appeared relatively average.
The discrepancy raises questions about the mechanisms behind such immense energy releases. Furthermore, the absence of heavy elements in the BOAT’s aftermath challenges existing theories on their formation.
Scientists had speculated that supernovae producing gamma-ray bursts could facilitate the creation of elements beyond iron through rapid neutron capture.
In addition to shedding light on the BOAT’s origins, the JWST observations unveiled signs of intense star formation within its host galaxy. The unique composition of this galaxy, characterized by a scarcity of heavy elements, poses further avenues for exploration.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, mark a significant advancement in understanding cosmic phenomena.


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