Space & Astronomy
Largest explosion since the Big Bang detected
February 28, 2020 | 8 comments
Image Credit: XMM / CHANDRA / GMRT / 2MASS / NASA
Scientists have spotted an explosion five times greater than anything seen since the birth of the universe.
Discovered by a team of US and Australian astronomers, this colossal explosion was produced by a burst of energy from a supermassive black hole in a galaxy cluster 390 million light years away.
It released the same amount of energy as the annual output of 10^20 suns (that's 1 with 20 zeroes), however the event itself seemed to have occurred over the course of hundreds of millions of years.
"You could fit 15 Milky Way galaxies in a row into the crater this eruption punched into the cluster's [plasma]," said Simona Giacintucci from the US Naval Research Laboratory.
Evidence of the event was picked up by several major telescopes including NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray telescope.
Aside from the Big Bang, which brought the universe itself into existence, this is by far the largest explosion ever observed - five times larger than anything else seen before.
"We've seen outbursts in the centers of galaxies before but this one is really, really massive... and we don't know why it's so big," said Curtin University's Melanie Johnston-Hollitt.
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