Astronomers See The Largest Explosion In Deep Space With Brightness Two Trillion Times Than Our Sun
As per the astronomers, the said explosion is more than ten times brighter than any known supernova.
For those caught unaware, when a star runs out of fuel, it goes supernova, that is, in simple terms, it explodes. And guess what? Astronomers have now seen the brightest explosion in deep space, and it has occurred in the farthest corner. The explosion has been unfolding for nearly three years now.
Additionally, the explosion is more than ten times brighter than any known supernova (exploding star). Not just that, it is three times brighter than the brightest tidal disruption event, where a star falls into a supermassive black hole. The brightness of this explosion is also two trillion times greater than that of our Sun.
The explosion, dubbed AT2021lwx, has not only amazed the astronomers with its duration, it is also the most powerful explosion until now, which was a Gamma Ray Burst, seen last year lasting just a few minutes. Coming to AT2021lwx, it has lasted over three years as it took place nearly 8 billion light years away, at the time when the universe was around 6 billion years old.
Interestingly, supernovas are some of the most spectacular events in the universe. These massive explosions happen when a star reaches the end of its life and runs out of fuel in order to achieve nuclear fusion in its core. The resulting collapse of the star’s core then causes a massive explosion, which can then briefly outshine entire galaxies.
To say the least, the sort of energy released during a supernova is truly astronomical. In a matter of a few seconds, a supernova can release more energy than the Sun would do in its entire lifetime, and it can be in the form of light, heat, and radiation.
“We came upon this by chance, as it was flagged by our search algorithm when we were searching for a type of supernova,” Dr. Philip Wiseman, Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, said.
The explosion was first detected in 2020 by the Zwicky Transient Facility in California. The Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), Neil Gehrels Swift Telescope, New Technology Telescope, and the Gran Telescopio Canarias in La Palma, Spain then further investigated it.
“With new facilities, like the Vera Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time, coming online in the next few years, we are hoping to discover more events like this and learn more about them. It could be that these events, although extremely rare, are so energetic that they are key processes to how the centres of galaxies change over time,” Dr. Wiseman further mentioned.