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Black hole's birth kills 'exploding' radio star

Washington, Dec. 22 : Astronomers have found a new population of exploding stars that "switch off" their radio transmissions before collapsing into a Black Hole.


These exploding stars use all of their energy to emit one last strong beam of highly energetic radiation - known as a gamma-ray burst - before they die.

Up until now, it was thought all gamma-ray bursts were followed by a radio afterglow - a premise that a team of Australian astronomers of the Centre for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) at Curtin University and the University of Sydney originally set out to prove correct.

Lead researcher and Curtin research fellow Dr Paul Hancock said that after studying an ultra-sensitive image of gamma-ray bursts with no afterglow, we can now say the theory was incorrect and our telescopes have not failed us.

It allowed for the stacking of 200 separate observations on top of each other to re-create the image of a gamma-ray burst in much better quality - yet, no trace of a radio afterglow was found.

Hancock said that gamma-ray bursts are thought to mark the birth of a Black Hole or Neutron Star - both of which have super-dense cores.

He said that Neutron Stars have such strong magnetic fields (a million times stronger than those of Black Holes) that producing gamma-rays are more difficult.

Hancock asserted that they think that those stars that collapse to form a Neutron Star have energy left over to produce the radio afterglow whereas those that become Black Holes put all their energy into one final powerful gamma-ray flash.

The technique used to create the ultra-sensitive image has been published in The Astrophysical Journal.

--ANI (Posted on 22-12-2013)

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