Big Bad Black Boom!


Astronomers and scientists from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray telescope as well as Australia and India have discovered that a ginormous explosion occurred in space some time ago. The explosion is suspected to have been 5 times larger than the biggest known explosion and maybe even bigger than the Big Bang, the explosion that leads to the creation of the Milky Way Galaxy (where the Earth is).

This newly discovered explosion took place 390 million light-years away. (1 light-year is almost 6 million-million miles (6 with 12 zeroes!!) so that’s really, really really really far away!) and came from a huge black hole. [A black hole is an area in space that has a very strong gravitational force that pulls everything that passes by into it.]

The explosion, that took place in the Ophiuchus Galaxy cluster has punched a hole the size of 15 Milky Ways! You know how hard you have to kick a football to make a dent in a nearby door, right? So can you imagine just how big this explosion would have to be in order to actually make a dent in outer space?!

Credits: X-ray: Chandra: NASA/CXC/NRL/S. Giacintucci, et al., XMM-Newton: ESA/XMM-Newton; Radio: NCRA/TIFR/GMRT; Infrared: 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF

Scientists actually first saw evidence of this dent through X-Ray data a few years ago, in 2016. At that time, they noticed that the Ophiuchus Galaxy had a curved edge. Since an impossibly large amount of energy would have been needed to create an explosion big enough to cause this kind of curve, the scientists dismissed the idea of a blast.

Now, almost 4 years later, data from the Chandra X-Ray combined with data from a European observatory and ground telescopes in India and Australia have proved that this gigantic explosion did take place!

One of the co-authors of the report about the explosion submitted to The Astrophysical Journal, Melanie Johnston-Hollitt said ‘I’ve tried to put this explosion into human terms and it’s really, really difficult.’ She also called the explosion incomprehensibly big.

Based on the data and images, the scientists have concluded that the blast is over since at the moment there are no jets of energy and space matter shooting out of the black hole which would have been the case if the explosion was still in progress.

Written by: Disha Mirchandani. Disha is a former lawyer turned freelance content writer. She is a fitness enthusiast and amateur aerialist with her own fitness photo-blog as well.


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