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Mystery explosion detected in distant galaxy

Posted on Sunday, 2 April, 2017 | Comment icon 10 comments

What could cause such a powerful explosion ? Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO
An unexplained explosion has been discovered in the deepest X-ray image of our universe ever taken.
The galaxy in which the event occurred, which is situated 10.7 billion light years away, had seemed relatively unremarkable until October 2014 when it suddenly became 1,000 times brighter.

The anomalous event, which lasted only a few hours, left astronomers scratching their heads.

"We may have observed a completely new type of cataclysmic event," said researcher Kevin Schawinski from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

"Whatever it is, a lot more observations are needed to work out what we're seeing."

One possibility is that the event could have been a gamma-ray burst - a high-energy explosion typically caused by a massive star collapsing or by the merging of two neutron stars.

Gamma-ray bursts are usually picked up when they are pointing towards the Earth, but if one happened to be pointing away from us then it may account for these new observations.

It is also possible that the event was caused by a black hole shredding a white dwarf star.

"None of these ideas fits the data perfectly," said researcher Ezequiel Treister.

"But then again, we've rarely if ever seen any of the proposed possibilities in actual data, so we don't understand them well at all."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (10)

Tags: Explosion, Universe

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by South Alabam on 30 March, 2017, 23:19
If this is not a destructive event, then it is one hell of an energy producer.
Comment icon #2 Posted by qxcontinuum on 3 April, 2017, 3:08
so whatever was it happened 10 billion years ago...
Comment icon #3 Posted by seanjo on 3 April, 2017, 10:27
Older than Earth itself.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 3 April, 2017, 11:19
It's all a matter of point of view. Everything we ever experience actually happened in the past it's just a matter of degree. From the point of view of a nearby observer this event occurred 10.7 billion years ago, from our point of view it happened in 2014.
Comment icon #5 Posted by qxcontinuum on 4 April, 2017, 2:58
I like how you wanted to make it sound to be very relative, almost philosophical... probably you meant to say that it is a matter of perception since science is baffled. Still though philosophically is cool to think about but realistically in time and space it happened so long ago during atime our known universe was much hotter and condensed than it is now . Perhaps it was a simple cosmic fart after a star ate another...
Comment icon #6 Posted by Frank Merton on 4 April, 2017, 3:12
The first time a previously unknown phenomenon is detected, "science" always is "baffled." It is not anything to start getting excited about or making wild speculations about. Give science time -- there are a lot of very well trained very intelligent scientists and I have yet to see them fail to come up with at least possible explanations, and usually in time they solve it. Even if they don't, all that means is that they have it still on their working list. I remember when quasars were first discovered. We now have a good understanding of their nature, but back then the headlines implied s... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by qxcontinuum on 4 April, 2017, 3:14
i tend to agree with the statement above however my only concern is that so much of it is being fabricated and suppositions are made instead. i guess still better than nothing !
Comment icon #8 Posted by DLE on 4 April, 2017, 14:43
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away.... It was only the Death Star blowing up
Comment icon #9 Posted by TruckerNate on 4 April, 2017, 20:37
Does it last to long to be a supernovae?
Comment icon #10 Posted by 3.0 on 7 April, 2017, 0:35
No, The First Order did this!

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