Astronomers have observed the most energetic cosmic explosion yet, which they believe resulted from a cloud of gas being ruptured by a supermassive black hole.
The explosion (dubbed AT2021lwx) occurred billions of light-years away and was first spotted in 2020. But it has now lasted over three years, which shows how much material was involved in the event. The team’s research describing the explosion was published today in the Monthly Bulletins of the Royal Astronomical Society.
“Once you know the distance to the object and how bright it appears to us, you can calculate the object’s brightness at its source,” said Sebastian Hönig, an astronomer at the University of Southampton and co-author of the study. at a university release. “After doing these calculations, we found that this is extremely bright.”
The gigantic explosion surpasses that of the BOAT (or the brightest of all time), a gamma-ray burst discovered last year. The boat is still the brightest known explosion, but it was volatile compared to the multi-year outbreak of AT2021lwx.
The explosion is as bright as a quasar – an active galactic core with a supermassive black hole at its core that appears very bright in the sky. But unlike a quasar, AT2021lwx only recently appeared in the sky. The team believes the event was caused by the interactions between a cloud and a supermassive black hole.
Those are black holes densest objects in the universe. Their gravitational pull is so great that not even light can escape their event horizon. Formerly only the area of theory (The mysterious objects were first predicted by Einstein), Since then, the shadows of black holes have been imaged by giant radio telescopesNotes for Researchers to details of their extreme physics.
The latest team of astronomers believe the explosion was caused by erratic gas (or dust) from a cloud orbiting the black hole falling into the superdense object. From our point of view, Material is still falling into the black hole, but the explosion happened nearly 8 billion years ago.
“As new facilities such as the Vera Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time come online over the next few years, we hope to discover more events like this and learn more about them,” said Philip Wiseman, also an astronomer at the University of Southampton and the lead author of the article, in the same press release. “It could be that these events, while exceedingly rare, are so energetic that they are key processes in how the centers of galaxies change over time.”
The Legacy Survey of Space and Time will make use of it The world’s largest digital camera, imaging the night sky every 15 secondsgiving astronomers around the world a new dynamic look at an ever-changing universe.
The team plans to collect X-ray data of the blast, along with other wavelengths of light, to better understand the origins of the giant blast.