Astronomers discovered the biggest explosion seen since the beginning of the universe, originated in a supermassive black hole. The explosion, the researchers said, is the biggest view since the “Bing Bang”: The cosmological model describes a rapid expansion of matter and energy that created the observable universe. According to reports, the phenomenon released five times more energy than any other previous explosion. This occurred in the center of the cluster of Ofiuco galaxies, about 390 million light years away from Earth.
The cluster is a conglomerate of thousands of galaxies, hot gas and dark matter linked by gravity. “We have observed explosions in the centers of the galaxies before, but this one is really huge,” he said Melanie Johnston-Holitt, professor at the International Radio Astronomy Research Center (ICRAR). “And we don’t know why it’s so big. But it happened very slowly, like a slow-motion explosion that took place over hundreds of millions of years.”
The outbreak was so powerful that pierced a cavity in the galaxy cluster plasma, the largest structure in the universe linked by gravity. This cavity had previously been observed by X-ray telescopes, Johnston-Hollitt reported. According to astrophysics, “there was skepticism due to the size of the outbreak. But in reality it is that. The universe is a strange place.”
To observe that fact, astronomers used the X-ray telescope of NASA’s Chandra Observatory, the XXM Newton space observatory of the European Space Agency and terrestrial telescopes. The scientists detected the first sign of the explosion in 2016. Chandra’s images of the cluster revealed an unusual curved edge, but the scientists ruled out a possible eruption given the amount of energy that would have been needed to create such a large gas cavity. It was later confirmed that the curvature was a cavity.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Simona Giacintucci, from the Naval Research Laboratory in the United Statess, compared the explosion with the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helena, which destroyed the top of that mountain.
It is believed that the explosion is over and, according to the research team, more observations are needed at other wavelengths to better understand what happened. We made this discovery in the first phase of the Murchison Widefield Array Observatory (MWA) in Australia, “when the telescope had 2,048 antennas directed towards the sky,” Johnston-Hollitt said. “Soon we will collect the observations made with 4,096 antennas, which should be 10 times more sensitive. I think it is very exciting.”
“I have tried to describe the explosion in human terms and it is very, very difficult. The best way I can think of is to say that it would be as if 20 billion explosions of one billion megatons of TNT were triggered every thousandth of a second for 240 million of years. That’s so big that it’s impossible to understand. Huge, “the Australian scientist explained to the BBC.