Astronomers were baffled back in 2016 by a blue explosion lurking in the depths of the Cosmos, as they were wondering about its source. With so many bright cosmic objects emerging out there among the endless ocean of stars, it’s obvious that we still have a lot to learn about our Universe.
But later studies concluded that the immense flash was a fast blue optical transient (FBOT) spotted in X-rays and radio waves.
500 million light-years away
The bizarre, bright, and blue phenomenon occurred very far away into space. We could fill the gap between our planet and the flash with thousands of galaxies.
The newest FBOT found is the one named CSS161010, and it’s a fast and powerful explosion that fades out very quickly.
Raffaella Margutti, senior study author and assistant professor in Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, declared:
“We thought we knew what produced the fastest outflows in nature,”
“We thought there were only two ways to produce them — by collapsing a massive star with a gamma ray burst or two neutron stars merging,”
Deanne Coppejans, who is the first author of the study, declared:
“We know of energetic explosions that can eject material at almost the speed of light, specifically gamma ray bursts, but they only launch a small amount of mass — about 1 millionth the mass of the sun. CSS161010 launched 1 to 10 percent the mass of the sun at more than half the speed of light — evidence that this is a new class of transient.”
Astronomers now believe that the best explanation for what’s triggering the FBOT is a peculiar path of star evolution that leads to a stellar explosion. The remnants of the explosion, a black hole or a neutron star, is able to charge the FBOT.
The full study explaining the fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.