- Supermassive Black Hole Causes Biggest Cosmic Explosion in Recorded History, Leaving Dent that Could Fit 15 Milky Way Galaxies
The biggest cosmic explosion in recorded history was detected about 390 million light years from Earth and it made a dent in surrounding space that could fit 15 Milky Way galaxies inside. It is believed the eruption originated from a supermassive black hole in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster. The explosion was compared to the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980.
“A key difference is that you could fit 15 Milky Way galaxies in a row into the crater this eruption punched into the cluster’s hot gas,” said Simona Giacintucci of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, and lead author of the study.
Authors of the study believe an excess amount of gas being supplied to the black hole caused the eruption, which itself was possibly caused by a galaxy falling to the center of the cluster. Back holes typically draw material toward them, but they also release material and energy when matter moving toward the black hole is redirected into jets or beams that make contact with surrounding material.