It was the first time in almost a decade that something like this had been witnessed: a quick burst of energy erupting from the heart of a faraway galaxy and being seen from a distance of 8.5 billion light-years. The Zwicky Transient Facility, a study of the entire night sky from the Palomar Observatory in California, was the first to discover the flash, which had the luminosity of more than a thousand trillion suns.
The global community of astronomers began focusing their telescopes on the flash within days, studying it in X-ray, radio, as well as other wavelengths. Its extreme brilliance evoked images of gamma-ray bursts, which are typically picked up by gamma-ray or X-ray telescopes. On the other hand, an optical telescope had picked up on this one.
Due to the incredible intensity of the flash, astronomers determined that it must have been created by the fragmentation of a star. A star had strayed too close to the galactic center’s supermassive black hole and been ripped apart by its immense gravity. What makes this event so extraordinary is the massive jet of energy it generated, with matter being hurled out from the black hole’s poles at nearly the speed of light.
Dramatic transient occurrences like these can only be spotted by using telescopes that constantly monitor as much of the sky as feasible and indicate any unexpected changes in brightness.
A supernova or the merger of two neutron stars are two possible causes of a sudden increase or decrease in brightness. Additional research is required to determine what caused the flash. For example, a supernova’s luminosity can increase dramatically in just a few weeks, which is incredibly rapid in the universe of stars. However, the light surrounding this occurrence quickly became brighter than that within just a few hours or days.
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