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ASI |  Italian space agency

ASI | Italian space agency

A few hours after midnight on January 1, 2022, some high-energy astrophysics satellites, including the Italian Space Agency’s very own Agile (Gamma Astronomer Detector with Light Images), welcomed the start of the new year by revealing What is most likely. The most active gamma-ray burst (GRB) reported to date in the history of observations of these phenomena, GRB 220101A. It was published in the magazine on Friday, July 15, 2022 Astrophysical Journal The first detailed study of the “New Year’s GRB”, carried out using data from the AGILE satellite.

“This is an exceptional event,” explains Alessandro Orsi of INAF in Rome, first author of the article. “In its 15 years of in-orbit activity, AGILE has already had the opportunity to detect some particularly intense GRBs, such as GRB 080916C and GRB 160625B, but these are very rare events. GRB 220101A occurred more than 12 billion light-years away, at a time when it was The universe is “only” 1.3 billion years old, and its isotropic energy (a parameter used to estimate the energy emitted by these phenomena) was the highest ever reconstructed for a GRB».

This record-breaking energy made this event attract a huge amount of attention from the scientific community in a short time. In the following days, more than two dozen communications were launched from the GCN, reporting on observations made by other space missions and astronomical observatories on Earth.

“The data obtained by AGILE” continues Ursi “made it possible to provide the first characterization of the so-called instantaneous phase of the GRB, that is, the emission of high-energy radiation due to the initial shocks that occur within the central system. Various detectors on board the satellite, ranging from the X-band (SuperAGILE 20-60 keV) to the gamma-band (AGILE-MCAL 0.4-100 MeV) have actually allowed us to provide an overview of the temporal and energetic evolution. The nature of this event. Using the AGILE data together with the public data of the Swift satellite, it was then possible to study the so-called “afterglow” of the GRB, that is, the late emission, at lower energies, derived from the interaction of the initial blast shocks with the surrounding interstellar medium, obtaining information valuable information about the environment in which this active event occurred.”

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AGILE asserts itself as an exceptional tool, not only for observing cosmic phenomena such as GRBs, but continues to make its essential contribution also to observing high-energy phenomena from Earth, such as terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGF) (A. Lindanger et al. 2020; C. Maiorana et al. al. 20209). “In fact, all TGFs viewed by AGILE through December 31, 2021 were recently published on the ASI SSDC data center website, including additional details and information compared to the original publications for the third 2020 TGF catalog,” says Carlotta Peturi, Scientific Director and Data Center Coordinator for the mission AGILE.