The researchers noticed that two neutron stars collided in deep space. The devices recorded an outbreak that is ten times higher than the usual phenomena that occur.
When two neutron stars collide, scientists call it kilonova, an astronomical event that occurs in binary star systems when two neutron stars merge. Such an event is accompanied by a bright and fast burst of gamma radiation. It also sends pulsations through the fabric of space-time.
The new study, due in The Astrophysical Journal, but available as a preprint on the ArXiv website, describes the brightest kilonova and suggests that a collision of a neutron star can sometimes lead to an extreme neutron star with dense magnetic fields.
On May 22, NASA’s space telescope detected a gamma-ray burst in an extremely distant corner of space – GRB 200522A. Scientists believe such short bursts occur when two neutron stars merge. The collision in question happened about 5.5 billion years ago, but telescopes have only caught it now.
Using X-rays, radio and near-infrared rays, the scientists measured the brightness of the gamma-ray burst. However, in the images taken in the near-infrared, an extremely bright burst is visible – about 10 times brighter than any kilonova that scientists have noticed before.
“The near infrared light we saw on GRB 200522A was too bright to be explained by the standard kilonova. We believe that this is a kilonova with a magnetic charge – only such a phenomenon can explain the extreme brightness, ”the scientists note.