Researchers have got success in creating a minuscule version of the gamma-ray burst in the lab. The team believes their experiment could enable them to have a better understanding of the actual gamma-ray bursts occurring in the universe and also determine precisely whether a signal they spotted in space came from aliens or some powerful cosmic event.
Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest events observed in the universe. These light explosions, which last for just a few seconds or minutes, are so intense that one can observe them even with the naked eye. “GRB 080319B” was one such event that was spotted by NASA’s Swift GRB Explorer mission in 2008. Scientists don’t know exactly what causes gamma-ray bursts in the universe. Some scientists believe these intense light explosions occur when a massive object in the universe, such as a black hole, releases jets of particles. Proponents of this theory also suggest that the beams emitted by the black holes would be mainly made up of electrons and positrons (the antimatter companions of electrons) and that these beams would also have self-generated, strong magnetic fields.
There are some people who suggest that gamma-ray bursts might be some sort of messages being sent by alien civilization dwelling in the universe.
“Our study helps towards understanding black hole and pulsar emissions, so that, whenever we detect anything similar, we know that it is not coming from an alien civilization,” Gianluca Sarri, a lecturer at Queens University, Belfast explained in a post published in The Conversation.
In the current study, a joint team of researchers from the UK, France, Sweden, and the U.S. used the Gemini laser at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK to study electron-positron beam (EPB), a special type of plasma having equal amounts of electrons and positrons. To produce EPB, an intense laser pulse was passed through a chamber containing helium. The process eventually created a beam of electrons. When this beam hit a lead target, the EPBs were created. Researchers found these EPBs producing long-lasting, strong magnetic fields.
According to researchers, they had carried out similar experiments before, but this was the first time that they were able to observe some key phenomena believed to play a key role in the creation of gamma-ray bursts in the universe. The experiment also confirmed theoretical predictions related to the distribution and strength of the magnetic fields produced.
The detailed findings of the study were published in Physical Review Letters.