Tech UPTechnologyThe most explosive space collision

The most explosive space collision

agujero_engulleThecollision of a star and a huge holeblack has unleashedone of the biggest and brightest space explosionsever recorded, whose flash occurred 3.8 billion light-years away, according to a study published today in the journalScience and in which Spanish scientists from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia have collaborated.

Scientists were investigating the origin of a beam of gamma rays that was observed on March 28 from NASA’s Swift satellite, a phenomenon they calledSw 1644+57. At first, they thought that it could be a gamma-ray burst, but the persistence of the luminosity, which in these phenomena tends to dissipate quickly, and the fact thatit will reactivate three times in just 48 hoursprompted researchers to search for another hypothesis.

“It was something totally different than any explosion we had seen before,” Joshua Bloom, a scientist at the University of Berkeley (California) and one of the lead authors of the study, said in a statement. Bloom suggested that the cause could have been the fall of a star the size of the Sun into a black hole a million times greater, which generated “a tremendous amount of energy over a long time”, in a phenomenon “that still it persists two and a half months later. ” “This is because the black hole tears the star apart, its mass spirals like water entering a drain, and this process releases a lot of energy,” explained the researcher.

About 10 percent of the mass of those stars was converted into radiated energy as X-rays and gamma rays, which could be seen from Earth because the light beam was pointed toward the Milky Way, the study indicates. By reviewing the history of explosions in the constellation Draco, where the phenomenon was observed, the scientists determined that it is an “exceptional” event, since they found no evidence of other X-ray or gamma-ray emissions. The most fascinating thing, according to Bloom, is that the phenomenon began in a black hole at rest, which was not attracting matter, as almost everyone in the center of each galaxy is.

“Thisit could happen in our own galaxy, where there is a black hole that lives quietly in the center, and that gurgles occasionally, when it swallows a little gas, “he said. However, Bloom stressed that he would be surprised to see another similar phenomenon in the sky” in the next decade. .

The explosion is something “never seen” so far in the wavelength of gamma rays, so it is most likely that they only occur “once every 100 million years, in any galaxy,” he calculated. The study estimates thatgamma-ray emissions, which began on March 24 or 25 in an unidentified galaxy about 3.8 billion light-years away, they will dissipate “over the next year.”

“We believe that this phenomenon was detected at its brightest, and if it really is a star destroyed by a massive black hole, we predict that it will never happen again in that galaxy,” said Bloom.

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