A Record-Setting Celestial Explosion #SpaceSaturday
What if a supernova lasted forever? That’s what may be happening in the constellation Vulpecula, 20 million light years from Earth. Here’s more from Astronomy Now:
“Most supernovae and tidal disruption events only last for a couple of months before fading away,” Philip Wiseman, an astrophysicist at the University of Southampton and lead author of a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, told The New York Times. “For something to be bright for two-plus years was immediately very unusual.”
As it turns out, the best explanation is a dormant black hole up to a billion times more massive than the Sun feasting on a huge cloud of gas. As material is consumed, shock waves blast through the remnants and the gas swirling around the black hole in an accretion disk. At its brightest, the team concludes, the explosion was 2 trillion times as bright as the sun.
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