Astronomers spot record-breaking black hole explosion

Astronomical image with X-ray and radio emissions represented in pink and blue (© 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)
Evidence for the biggest explosion seen in the universe.
(© 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)

NASA said the biggest explosion ever seen in the universe has been found.

“This record-breaking, gargantuan eruption came from a black hole in a distant galaxy cluster hundreds of millions of light-years away,” NASA said February 27.

Astronomers made this discovery using ground- and space-based telescopes, including X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton, and radio data from the Murchison Widefield Array in Australia and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India, as shown below.

Astronomic image showing emissions in X-rays, radio and infrared (© 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)
(© 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)

Researchers estimate this explosion released five times more energy than the previous record holder and hundreds of thousands of times more than a typical galaxy cluster. Jets expelled by the black hole at opposite poles carried the energy.

The eruption seems to have finished because the researchers do not see any evidence of ongoing jet activity in the radio data, the scientists said.


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