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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jan 5, 2005 20:19:29 GMT -6
Astronomers find biggest space blast ever observed
Posted Jan. 5, 2005 Courtesy Ohio University, Nature and World Science staff
Astronomers have found the most powerful explosion in the universe using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. A super massive black hole generated this eruption by growing at a remarkable rate. This discovery shows the enormous appetite of large black holes, and the profound impact they have on their surroundings.
An image of the object generated from a combination of its X-ray and radio emissions. (Photo: Chandra X-Ray Observatory.)
The eruption was seen in a Chandra image of the hot, X-ray emitting gas of a galaxy cluster named MS 0735.6+7421.
This event was caused by gravitational energy release, as enormous amounts of matter fell toward a black hole. Most of the matter was swallowed, but some of it was violently ejected before being captured by the black hole. “I was stunned to find that a mass of about 300 million suns was swallowed,” said Brian McNamara of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. “This is as large as another super massive black hole.” He is lead author of the study about the discovery, which is in the January 6, 2005, issue of the research journal Nature.