back to article Astroboffins may have cracked the mystery of where the photons from weird gamma ray bursts come from

The photons streaming from mysterious gamma-ray bursts, the most energetic form of electromagnetic energy in the universe, break out from relativistic jets shooting out from dying supernova stars, according to the latest research. GRBs were discovered when US satellites were searching for gamma radiation emitted from any …

  1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    The mechanism in how the radiation shoots out at speeds close to the speed of light, however, is still unknown

    I sort of understand what is meant, but this is poorly explained.

    The radiation being gamma rays, is of course travelling at the speed of light, being light. The ionised gas that is responsible for the generation of the GRB, is what is travelling close to the speed of light (and is not radiation in the traditional sense)

    1. Major N
      Pint

      I was thinking the same thing re: photons by definition travelling at c, thanks for the clarification :)

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Indeed, not least because the collapse will lead to hf emissions (X and Gamma) of its own but possibility not of the same scale.

      Also worth noting that the collapse is also responsible for gravitational waves and the conjunction of the two are now being used to infer more about the original events.

      1. harmjschoonhoven

        @ Charlie Clark

        IMHO GRBs, if they are SNae, are not expected to produce detectable gravitational waves as the explosion involves not the merger of two heavy objects but an explosion of an isolated heavy star which in its simplest form is spherical. The symmetry is broken by rotation of the star and/or off-axis ignation of the nuclear explosion deep inside the supernova.

        Its disturbance of the gravitational field, if any, is at present undetectable.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: @ Charlie Clark

          Thanks for the correction.

        2. Julz Bronze badge

          Re: @ Charlie Clark

          SNae? The Scottish National Antarctic Expedition?

          1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

            Re: @ Charlie Clark

            No, snae what you think.

    3. STOP_FORTH
      Headmaster

      Meaning of words

      I can think of at least two possible sources of confusion here.

      Perhaps the paper was translated from a Japanese draft, resulting in slightly mixed up meaning in some sentences?

      Things that radiate are not necessarily electromagnetic radiation. Something which spreads out from a central point radiates. Relativistic jets get wider the further they are from their progenitor (whatever that is) so can be said to radiate, but not at the speed of light.

      Funny old language English. Maybe relativistic descriptions are far less ambiguous in the original German?

      1. Geoff May (no relation)

        Re: Meaning of words

        Maybe relativistic descriptions are far less ambiguous in the original German?

        Nein

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Meaning of words

        "Things that radiate are not necessarily electromagnetic radiation."

        True, but when the origins of em radiation are being considered more care ought to have been taken to avoid confusion between this and matter.

        1. iGNgnorr
          Coat

          Re: Meaning of words

          "True, but when the origins of em radiation are being considered more care ought to have been taken to avoid confusion between this and matter."

          Sometimes words really matter.

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Meaning of words

            Words are clearly quantum objects, being a superposition of multiple meanings, and the exact meaning is only known when the waveform collapses when a human observes.

            I feel an idea for a paper on quantum linguistics coming up. That would be for Annals of Improbable Research, of course. Should fit nicely with my paper on quantum homeopathy.

            I'd better get me coat. It is nearly beer o'clock, after all

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Meaning of words

              > That would be for Annals of Improbable Research,

              Interesting link. Somehow I was expecting more articles about Uranus.

            2. Chris G Silver badge

              Re: Meaning of words

              I think there may be suitable material for a paper on Quantum Homeopathic Thinking; it may be possible to produce an entire concept or theory diluted down to a single neurone firing, I am sure I have detected such events during the introduction of a number of election manifestos.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Meaning of words

              "Annals of Improbable Research"

              One of the tasks at my workplace has a title that includes the word "Analysis". The task title is truncated by SAP, so that it looks like "...Anal".

              No. I'm not doing that.

          2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Meaning of words

            "Sometimes words really matter."

            And at other times, mords really watter.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Meaning of words

        Things that radiate are not necessarily electromagnetic radiation.

        True, alpha and beta are notably not, but when talking about gamma, there should be no ambiguity.

    4. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      The abstract mentions "an ultra-relativistic jet" rather than "radiation." I'm surprised that Katyanna wrote "radiation" here, although I'm far from understanding stellar mechanics myself.

      This idea of radiative emissions coming from a relativistic jet of matter does remind me of Cherenkov radiation, though.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "This idea of radiative emissions coming from a relativistic jet of matter does remind me of Cherenkov radiation, though."

        Especially if you consider this: https://science.slashdot.org/story/19/03/30/0542222/physicists-predict-a-way-to-squeeze-light-from-the-vacuum-of-empty-space

    5. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Mushroom

      speed of light = C

      The radiation being gamma rays, is of course travelling at the speed of light, being light. The ionised gas...

      Thats only a *maximum* AFAIK; Light can go slower for example in water. Don't know what the speed of light in a mostly hydrogen plasma is though.

      Maybe the GRB is some fancy pants version of Cherenkov radiation?

    6. Scroticus Canis
      Boffin

      not radiation in the traditional sense - well not em radiation, but...

      alpha rays - helium nuclei

      beta rays - electrons

      cosmic rays - high energy protons

      neutron radiation - neutrons

      are all particulate radiation types.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: not radiation in the traditional sense - well not em radiation, but...

        SC offered, "...are all particulate radiation types."

        Particles / waves, here we go...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My bum.

  3. Roger Kynaston
    Joke

    Hokusai BigWaterfall system at RIKEN.

    Shirly they have adopted agile now. Waterfall supercomputers are so old hat now!

  4. AndyMulhearn

    Now I'm going to have to RTFA

    This all sounds somewhat similar to the content of my "dissertation" for my OU Physical Sciences degree which I wrote In 2010. Setting aside the summary form of the Reg Article, I wonder how things have moved on since then? Better get downloading...

    And yes, a closer read of fhe Reg does show some differences. Interesting,

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So these are the test firings from a DeathStar which almost a fully operational battlestation?

  6. sitta_europea Bronze badge

    Read all these comments. What a lot of hot air.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think that picture looks like an overloaded Dho-Nha summoning and containment grid.

    Obviously, those too-clever-by-half Elder Ones just had to go and put a fork in a hermeneutics wall-socket to see what would happen, which is why they are not around anymore and earth is rapidly filling up with gibbering morons, enslaved to the brain eating technology that feeds their masters!

  8. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "...galaxies far, far away."

    El Reg missed the obvious opportunity with this one. Quote: "...swarms of gamma ray photons were coming from galaxies far away."

    It's spelled "far, far".

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