Ancient dying star drowns out mobile phone signal

In space, a dying star drowns out cell phone

The scientists discovered a signal that comes from a rare type of star. The gamma rays of a star called GRB 204015A are very close to our galaxy. But its special flashes are amazing in that they can drown out the signals of mobile phones. Flares are capable of sweeping away the energy absorbing the Sun. These are the most powerful bursts in the Universe. Investigating the flares, the scientists concluded that GRB 200415A originated from another possible source of meek gamma rays, the powerful neutron star magnetar.

It was at a very distant distance from the Milky Way, but, apparently, the neutron star was gradually approaching. Its bursts are so powerful that they drown out mobile communications. But they can also be messengers from the earliest universe.

The experts from the University of Johannesburg compare the star with powerful bursts in the Sun. Like any other star, it will gradually turn into a red giant star, and then into a compact white dwarf. According to Professor Mark Reckzak, those stars that are more massive than the Sun have a different ending in their life path.

When they die, they go supernova and then become a neutron star. It is very dense and its mass is great. Other massive stars that cause the largest explosions in the Universe, take on the same state.

For example, in mid-April last year, the solar system was at the mercy of a powerful stream of X-rays and gamma rays. Their duration took a few fractions of a second, but it was enough to shoot down detectors on NASA ships and European spacecraft.

The event was caused by a giant flash of the magnetar. The scientists believe that such powerful flares a huge amount of interesting information about the history of the universe. Another similar case happened in 2017.

Then the outburst followed from two neutron stars, caught in the process of merging. The burst was recorded at a distance of 130 million light years.

Reference: 13 January 2021, Nature Astronomy. DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-01287-8