What is a Gamma Ray Burst (GRB)?

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What is a Gamma Ray Burst (GRB)? Blog Image


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.

About Gamma Ray Burst (GRB):

  • GRBs are short-lived bursts of gamma-ray light, the most energetic form of light.
  • GRB emits more energy in a few seconds than our Sun will emit in its lifetime and has two distinct emission phases:
    • the short-lived prompt emission (the initial burst phase that emits gamma-rays), followed by a long-lived multi-wavelength afterglow phase.
  • The shortest GRBs likely mark the collision of two compact stellar remnants called neutron stars, and the longest bursts are thought to arise when a massive, rapidly spinning star collapses to form a black hole.
  • When a GRB erupts, it is briefly the brightest source of cosmic gamma-ray photons in the observable Universe.

 What are Gamma Rays?

  • Gamma rays have the smallest wavelengths and the most energy of any wave in the electromagnetic spectrum
  • They are produced by the hottest and most energetic objects in the universe, such as neutron stars and pulsars, supernova explosions, and regions around black holes.
  • On Earth, gamma waves are generated by nuclear explosions, lightning, and the less dramatic activity of radioactive decay.


Q1) What is the electromagnetic spectrum?

The electromagnetic (EM) spectrum is the range of all types of EM radiation. Radiation is energy that travels and spreads out as it goes – the visible light that comes from a lamp in your house and the radio waves that come from a radio station are two types of electromagnetic radiation. The other types of EM radiation that make up the electromagnetic spectrum are microwaves, infrared light, ultraviolet light, X-rays and gamma-rays.

Source: 'Monstrous' gamma-ray burst brightest seen since 'human civilization began'