In an extraordinary cosmic spectacle, a UK-based team of astronomers from the University of Southampton has observed the most colossal cosmic explosion yet, dwarfing even the brightest known supernovae. Tagged as AT2021lwx, this cosmic explosion larger than the solar system took center stage in a study published in the prestigious Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Cosmic Explosion > Solar System | The Peculiar AT2021lwx
Unlike conventional supernovae that usually fade within months, the signal from AT2021lwx has been observable for three years, originating nearly eight billion light-years away from Earth. Even now, certain telescopes continue to detect remnants of this cosmic blast, believed to have occurred when the universe was just six billion years old.
Beyond being the most enormous cosmic explosion detected by humans, AT2021lwx is said to be about 100 times the size of the solar system and emits a brightness two trillion times that of the sun, even at its peak energy emission.
Decoding the Mysteries of AT2021lwx
“Our discovery was serendipitous, flagged by our search algorithm while scanning for a specific type of supernova. With supernovae and tidal disruption events typically fading within months, something bright for over two years was instantly intriguing,” remarked Dr. Philip Wiseman, the lead study author.
The explosion first observed in 2020 within the Vulpecula constellation. The explosion is to trigger by a supercharged quasar – a gas or dust cloud.
Cosmic Explosion > Solar System | Potential Causes
Astronomers hypothesize that fragments of this cloud could have go into a black hole. This is leading to a chain reaction of shockwaves that caused the cloud to explode. Yet, more observations are to unveil the actual trigger for this explosion.
While AT2021lwx wasn’t the brightest burst detected, its longevity outstrips the briefly brilliant gamma-ray burst GRB 221009A observed in 2022. As new telescope facilities emerge worldwide, astronomers understand more about such rare events, potentially uncovering how galaxy centers evolve.
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In conclusion, the detection of AT2021lwx is a groundbreaking discovery in the realm of astronomy. It expands our comprehension of cosmic explosions and their magnitude. It is serving as a testament to the universe’s vast and often baffling nature. Astronomers and scientists work tirelessly to decode this spectacular phenomenon. Each new piece of information brings us to understand the dynamic centers of galaxies and the cosmos’s intricate workings. This exciting development underscores the ever-evolving and thrilling frontier of space exploration.