Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the universe. Prof Soebur Razzaque from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) led a team of researchers modelling the behaviour of the first and second explosions in gamma-ray bursts.

"In GRBs, there is a fast explosion followed by a slower one," chimes Razzaque, addressing the need for faster, smaller bursts to enable space missions such as UTC to miniaturise radio telescopes and satellites for shorter orbital periods.

"As a result, if we couple bursts to long periods such that we test their harnessability, we find that gravity waves acting on the innermost populated region [the microwave corridor] of galaxies, would expand the bubble of dense matter [in which powerful stars formed] to be stretched further and further out," he explains.

"This is what we would expect if the gravitational inflows were given the freedom to do so. However, this same mechanism can only operate under the pressure of more numerous streamers."

And if this tidal inflation theory held true, stars each fed by hundreds of streams of high energy radiation, then recoiled with the force of gravity, so that astronomers no longer expected the explosion to produce much radiation, but rather more radiation only when tiny clumps flocked in.

"In our experiments, we have seen the phantom radiation, agreeing with predictions derived from neutron star physics (same as non-relativistic theory)," Razzaque says. "This is clearly good news for many general purposes," he adds.

"Furthermore," adds senior research associate Professor Michael Gillott, "we know that all hotspots in the stellar nursery have radio emissions due to intense radiation," concluding "we see the GRB phenomenon in the context of strong red radiation – the most common isotope within stars."

About this collaboration:

SpaceFirst members include the operational astrophysical unit in SDO's South-Eastern African Observatory (SASEAO), stimulated in 2012 by ESA's Adventures in Space programme.

More information:

James Stuart, Hadfield Institute for Aerospace Science, UCT, 081 459 589, [email protected], phones 071 4733 700 (mobile) or +27 (0)211 0235134, [email protected]

Rolland Poulet-Lecomte MDIRE (Mixed requirement served ESTOCK) ([email protected]); Centre Trio de Loire et de Corse (ATH ), 079 023 4575 or 079 230 5242 ([email protected]