13 record-breaking space discoveries of 2023

13 record-breaking space discoveries of 2023

science, technology By Dec 25, 2023 No Comments

Record-Breaking Space Discoveries of 2023

2023 has been an extraordinary year in the realm of space exploration, with various astronomical records being shattered and new frontiers being unveiled. From the highest-energy gamma-ray ever seen coming from the sun to the smallest brown dwarf discovered, the year has been filled with remarkable breakthroughs in our understanding of the cosmos.

Highest-Energy Gamma Ray from the Sun

Among the new astronomical records set in 2023 was an announcement of the highest-energy gamma ray ever seen coming from the sun, an order of magnitude more powerful than previously recorded. Observations by the High-Altitude Cherenkov Observatory (HAWC) in Mexico trumped previous records by detecting solar gamma rays with energies of about a trillion electronvolts (1 TeV), and a few that had energies up to nearly 10 TeV.

Record-Breaking Pulsar Gamma-Rays

More record-breaking gamma rays were detected in 2023, with photons pushing 20 TeV detected coming from the pulsar within the Vela supernova remnant. The discovery made by the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) in Namibia challenged our understanding of how electrons are accelerated in strong magnetic fields.

Largest and Longest-Lasting Space Explosion

Research unveiled the most intense, long-lasting, and powerful explosion ever seen in a galaxy whose light has been traveling to us for 8 billion years. Cataloged as AT2021lwx, the event was ten times brighter than any known supernova and was co-discovered by the Zwicky Transient Facility in California and the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) in Hawaii.

Most Distant Fast Radio Burst (FRB)

2023 revealed the most distant fast radio burst (FRB) ever detected, which traveled through space for 8 billion years. The record-breaking burst, detected by the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), was found to have originated from a system of colliding galaxies that existed 8 billion years ago.

Record-Breaking Radio Emissions from Ancient Galaxy

The most distant detection of radio emissions associated with neutral hydrogen gas was achieved in 2023, with the discovery of radio waves from a galaxy that we see as it existed in the universe 8.8 billion years ago. This record-breaking detection provided crucial insights into the distribution of hydrogen gas in galaxies and throughout the cosmos.

Ingenuity Helicopter’s Martian Milestones

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter broke its own records in 2023, with its 59th flight becoming the longest of its mission at that point, hovering over one spot for 142.59 seconds. The helicopter has been a testament to the success of experimental missions, continually reaching new heights on Mars.

Climate Records and Concerns

Not all records in space are positive achievements. NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies confirmed that the Northern Hemisphere summer in 2023 had the warmest temperatures since records began in 1880, a consequence of human-caused global warming.

Further concerning evidence came from a joint study by NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which found that the amount of sea ice in Antarctic waters reached a record low in 2023, while the Arctic exhibited the sixth lowest amount of sea ice measured since records began.

Breakthrough in Space Exploration

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio made history in 2023 by becoming the first American to spend a full year in space onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Rubio beat previous records for the longest duration in space for an American astronaut, further advancing our knowledge of long-duration space missions.

Fastest Runaway Stars in the Milky Way

The fastest runaway stars ever seen speeding through our galaxy were revealed in 2023, with the discovery of six new hypervelocity stars. Two of the stars were identified as the speediest ever seen, racing through space at an astonishing 2,285 kilometers per second and 1,694 kilometers per second, respectively.

James Webb Space Telescope’s Remarkable Discoveries

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) continues to break new astronomical records, with the standout being the discovery of the most distant supermassive black hole known to exist in the universe. The telescope also spotted the smallest brown dwarf found so far, challenging our understanding of the cosmos at both ends of the scale.

Record-Setting Volcanic Lightning

A new study in the summer of 2023 found that the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in 2022 produced a record number of lightning strikes in a supercharged thunderstorm that persisted for 11 hours across a huge region spanning 240 kilometers in width.

Source: space

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