Astronomers identify biggest explosion since Big Bang

Date:28 February 2020 Author: Leila Stein

Astronomers have detected evidence of a massive explosion in space.

According to BBC, the huge release of energy appears to have come from a supermassive black hole some 390 million light-years from Earth.

“We’ve seen outbursts in the centres of galaxies before but this one is really, really massive,” Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, professor at the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research and co-author of the paper, said in a statement.

What makes it even more interesting is that scientists don’t know why the explosion was so big.

The researchers were able to see the explosion using four telescopes across the globe, including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray space observatory.

It was so forceful, it punched a hole in the surrounding black hole, which was seen through the X-ray telescope observations.

“In some ways, this blast is similar to how the eruption of Mount St Helens (volcano) in 1980 ripped off the top of the mountain,” said Simona Giacintucci of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, and lead author of the study.

The astronomers say this discovery could offer explanations and further discoveries.

“It’s a bit like archaeology,” Johnston-Hollitt said. “We’ve been given the tools to dig deeper with low-frequency radio telescopes so we should be able to find more outbursts like this now.”

Image: NASA

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