Astronomers see evidence for largest explosion in universe at 390 million light-years

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The Big Bang was obviously bigger, but excluding that, a new record holder has been found for the largest explosion in the universe. The outburst is believed to originate from a black hole in a cluster 390 million light-years away.

An international group of scientists and astronomers made the discovery by combining data from four telescopes. This includes data from ESA’s XMM-Newton satellite and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory satellite, both of which focus on the wavelength range of X-rays. Radio data from the Murchison Widefield Array in Australia and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India were also used. The amount of energy from the eruption is five times that of the previous record holder.

The massive outburst is attributed to a black hole in a group of galaxies called the Ophiuchus cluster. This cluster is located about 390 million light-years from Earth. Clusters are held together by gravity and contain thousands of individual galaxies, dark matter and hot gas. At the center of the Ophiuchus cluster is a large galaxy with a supermassive black hole; scientists believe this black hole is the source of the massive eruption.

The eruption has created a cavity in the hot gas in the Ophiuchus cluster, which has been made visible by the data from the telescopes. Chandra observations from 2016 already seemed to indicate a massive explosion in the Ophiuchus cluster; data from the telescope revealed an unusually curved edge. NASA scientists then suggested the possibility that the hole in the hot gas was caused by the energy emission of a supermassive black hole, but that hypothesis was rejected, in part because the large size of the cavity requires an enormous amount of energy. would have been.

Meanwhile, data from the XMM-Newton has also discovered the curved edge, confirming Chandra’s 2016 observation. New radio data from the Murchison Widefield Array and archive data from the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope were very important. This shows that the curved edge is part of the wall of the cavity, because it borders an area filled with radio emission. This radiation is created by electrons that are accelerated at almost the speed of light, which is attributed to the supermassive black hole.

Black holes not only attract matter, but sometimes they also emit enormous amounts of material and energy. Matter attracted to a black hole can be blown into space by huge plumes or jets, ramming into the surrounding material. The scientists suspect that this may have been the source of the record eruption.

The researchers published the findings in the scientific journal The Astrophysical Journal, under the title Discovery of a giant radio fossil in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster.

The diffuse, hot gas from the XMM-Newton’s observations is shown in pink. The radio data from the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope is in blue and the infrared data from the 2MASS survey is shown in white. The inset shows a zoomed-in view of Chandra’s X-ray data, shown in pink.

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