Chinese Telescopes Measure Brightest Gamma-ray Burst

On March 29, 2023 (Beijing Time) at 2 am, the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and 40 research institutions worldwide released their discoveries on the brightest Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB 221009A) ever detected by humans. Two Chinese space telescopes, Insight-HXMT and GECAM-C, accurately measured the burst’s brightness and how much energy it released.

The Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO), another ground-based facility led by IHEP, performed a joint observation with Insight-HXMT and the GECAM-C telescopes. LHAASO made several important first discoveries with its large amount of high-energy observation data.

As the most energetic explosion phenomenon in the universe, GRBs are often produced by the core collapse of a massive star that lasts longer than two seconds, or the merger of two compact stars, such as neutron stars and black holes, lasting less than two seconds and emitting gravitational waves. GRB 221009A belongs to the former.

Insight-HXMT is China’s first X-ray space telescope to observe the X-ray source in the Milky Way.

According to the joint observation, the early afterglow of GRB 221009A appeared to switch from slow decay to rapid decay very early in time—the burst launched an extraordinarily narrow and luminous jet directly pointing to us.

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