Astronomers have detected the largest ever explosion from a supermassive black hole, releasing 100 times the energy the Sun will produce in its lifetime.
(Updated 5/16/2023 6:46 AM)
One Giant black hole In the center of a galaxy it produced an unprecedented explosion by devouring an enormous cloud of gas. The event released 100 times more energy than the Sun should produce in its lifetime.
When black holes feed on a massive object, a very active process begins, which releases large amounts of matter radiation different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum.
All of this happens before matter finally falls into the event horizon (the place in a black hole where nothing can escape, including light). This is why astronomers can find invisible black holes: they betray their existence as they nurse.
Such was the case for AT2021lwx, a distant object first discovered in 2020 by a data survey called the Zwicky Transient Facility in California with the Palomar Observatory. Now, the team that has tracked this black hole’s activity has concluded that its feast is the most extravagant of all of the objects of its class.
The discovery was made by the team led by Philip Wiseman, of the University of Southampton, in the UK. “We see several different large flashes and explosions in the universe, but nothing close to what we see here,” Weizmann says of AT2021lwx activity.
According to the study published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Societythe only cosmic objects brighter than AT2021lwx are Quasars —also because of meals from the supermassive black holes at the center of the galaxy. But in their case, the Feasts happen in a continuous stream, becoming the largest emitters of energy in the universe.
On the other hand, the AT2021lwx emits a tangential burst, that is, the released energy flow is not continuous. The event increased in brightness by more than 15 times over the course of about four months and then began to dim steadily, although it had not yet stopped.
Looking at the proportions of the event, the scientists conclude that AT2021lwx is consuming a giant gas cloud 100 times its size. Solar System – Or more. The study authors hope their findings will help understand how supermassive black holes become so large in relatively small galaxies.
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