The burst, which originated 2.4 billion light years from Earth, is rarely observed astronomical event because of its brightness and close proximity, according to Zhang Shuangnan.

A gamma-ray burst (GRB) that released approximately eight times the total rest-mass energy of the Sun in all directions in one minute was measured with an unprecedented level of accuracy by an international collaborative team using two China space telescopes.

The Xinhua News Agency broke the news of this. A 50-fold increase in brightness was achieved by the team, which was led by the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Since the discovery of this incredibly energetic explosion in far-off galaxies, the gamma-ray burst coded GRB 221009A is the brightest, most energetic, and luminous one ever seen, electromagnetic event since the Big Bang.

Observatories on Earth and in space, such as China’s Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO) and the X-ray astronomy satellite Insight-HXMT, picked it up in October 2022. (Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope).

The burst, which originated 2.4 billion light years from Earth, is a rarely observed astronomical event because of its brightness and close proximity, according to Zhang Shuangnan, the chief scientist of Insight-HXMT and a member of the IHEP.

The collapse and explosion of stars with hundreds of times the mass of the Sun generate GRBs with longer durations (typically longer than two seconds). The brief bursts are created when two compact celestial bodies, like black holes or neutron stars, merge; gravitational waves may also be present at this time.

According to Xiong Shaolin, the chief scientist of GECAM-C, the nation’s other space telescope launched into orbit in July 2022, “explosions of those two kinds will result in an extremely compact celestial object that produces two jets at a near speed of light in opposite directions.”

Therefore, Xiong from the IHEP explained, “We can only detect those radiations when one jet aims precisely at the Earth.”

Since 1967, nearly 10,000 gamma-ray bursts have been discovered. However, due to its exceptional brightness, measuring the prompt emission characteristics of GRB 221009A accurately is quite difficult.

In the new study, the transient radiations and early afterglow of this burst were measured using a variety of telescopes around the world, including the Insight-HXMT and the GECAM-C, or Gravitational Wave High-energy Electromagnetic Counterpart All-Sky Monitor C. Burst jets were impacted by the nearby interstellar medium, which resulted in the afterglow.

The GECAM-C telescope, which was created specifically for observing gamma-ray bursts, the electromagnetic counterpart of gravitational waves, can avoid instrument issues brought on by brightness, such as signal stacking, data saturation and loss, and excessive dead time.

The main emission of GRB 221009A, which makes up the majority of the burst’s flux, was successfully probed by this telescope in a soft gamma-ray energy band, while the Insight-HXMT contributed in the hard X-ray energy band to gather high-quality data about the burst’s precursor radiation and early afterglow.

The GECAM series of space probes has discovered a variety of high-energy explosions, including those from gamma-ray bursts, magnetic stars, fast radio bursts, solar flares, and terrestrial gamma-ray flashes.

They did this by utilising the short message service of China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System to realise satellite-to-earth real-time communication. Over the past five years, Insight-HXMT, China’s first X-ray astronomical satellite, has made discoveries about black holes, neutron stars, and fast radio bursts. It was launched into orbit in June 2017.

More information will be released later, according to the researchers. LHAASO, a massive cosmic ray detector situated 4.41 km above sea level in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, also contributed to the detection.

The afterglow’s transition from a slow to a quick attenuation point appeared quite early, according to the new joint observations, indicating that the burst’s produced jet is extremely narrow—one of the narrowest gamma-ray bursts ever discovered.

According to the researchers, the findings indicated that this burst might have a central engine that could launch and collide a very narrowly beamed jet with a typical energy budget, producing exceptionally bright gamma-ray radiation per unit solid angle. This work has provided a fresh viewpoint for a more thorough comprehension of this extremely violent cosmic explosion, according to Zhang.