Astronomers at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research have found the largest explosion ever observed in the universe since the Big Bang. As per the reports, the explosion occurred from a supermassive black hole at the Centre of a galaxy hundreds of millions of light-years away from Earth. Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, said that the massive event was very energetic.
The biggest explosion seen in the universe has been found. 😱— NASA (@NASA) February 27, 2020
How data from our @chandraxray observatory contributed to the discovery of a record-breaking, gargantuan eruption from a black hole hundreds of millions of light years away: https://t.co/PE4tFfjq44 pic.twitter.com/CQVUOFZPsz
Johnston-Hollitt added that they have witnessed explosions in the Centre of the galaxies before but this one is really massive. She also added that they do not know the cause of it being so big. She said that she believes it to be a very slow process where the explosion took place over hundreds of millions of years. As per the reports, the outburst took place in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, about 390 million light-years from Earth.
It was so huge and powerful that the super-hot gas surrounded the black hole and punched a cavity in the cluster plasma. Dr Simona Giacintucci, from the Naval Research Laboratory in the United States, who is a lead author of the study said that blast was similar to 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, that completely ravaged the top of the mountain. Professor Johnston-Hollitt said that the cavity in the cluster plasma had been seen previously with X-ray telescopes.
Scientists earlier dismissed the idea that it could have been caused by an energetic outburst, because it would have been very big. The researchers realised the discovery when they looked at the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster with radio telescopes. The discovery was made using four telescopes i.e. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, ESA's XMM-Newton, the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Western Australia and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India.
Professor Johnston-Hollitt said that the finding is likely to be the first of many. She said that they made the discovery with Phase 1 of the MWA, when the telescope having 2048 antennas pointed towards the sky. As per the reports, the team is now trying to make further observations placing twice the number of antennas increasing its sensitivity.