Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest explosions in the universe which are caused by massive start collapsing. A study conducted by the University of Warwick found out that the stars need to be in binary positions to create a Gamma Ray explosion. They studied thousands of binary star models and found out that the tidal effect from the neighboring or companion star is required for the collapsing start to keep spinning and produce a jet of high energy materials.
These new findings solve the mystery of how these stars spin fast to launch high energy photons or particles. The reason for this is the tidal effects between two stars just like the ones occurring between earth and moon. The Gamma-ray burst which is observed in the study occurs when a large star, ten times the size of our sun, collapses into a black hole or a neutron star and releases a jet of high energy materials into space.
It was found that, instead of collapsing inwards, the star flattens to a disc shape to conserve the angular momentum which later launches in the form of high-velocity particles along the polar axis. But to create this magnitude of angular momentum, the start needs to spin at high speed which is not likely, because stars lose any spin acquired by them very easily. The solution for this mystery was obtained when the scientists modeled the behavior of stars while they collapse. It was found that the effects of tides from a closer star could be responsible for this phenomenon.
The Gamma-Ray Bursts or GRB is a highly luminous phenomenon and it is visible from the earth when the photons are fired in this direction. We see around 20% of the total GRBs occurring around us.
In the words of Ashley, the first author of this research paper, “ We’re predicting what kind of stars or systems produce gamma-ray bursts, which are the biggest explosions in the universe. Until now it’s been unclear what kind of stars or binary systems you need to produce that result. The question has been how a star starts spinning or maintains its spin over time. We found that the effect of a star’s tides on its partner is stopping them from slowing down and, in some cases, it is spinning them up”.
He also added that “ they are stealing rotational energy from their companion, a consequence of which is that they then drift further away. What we have determined is that the majority of stars are spinning fast precisely because they’re in a binary system”.
Various binary stellar evolution models were used for this study. These were developed by the researchers of the University of Warwick and Dr. JJ Eldridge, University of Auckland. They use the system of Binary Population synthesis to study this mechanism in a population of thousand stars.
The scientists also studied the composition of these stellar bodies to learn more about their GRB and found that the pathway requires very little concentration of Iron or any other heavy metals.
Ashley also explained further that “ This model allows us to predict what these systems should look like observationally in terms of their temperature and luminosity, and what the properties of the companion are likely to be. We are now interested in applying this analysis to explore different astrophysical transients, such as fast radio bursts, and can potentially model rarer events such as black holes spiraling into stars”.
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