Scientists Discover The Universe's Biggest Explosion Since The Big Bang
A supermassive black hole about 390 million years ago, is behind the biggest explosion the universe has ever seen.
Images captured by NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory show an explosion five-times bigger than any other in the universe, making it the biggest blast since the Big Bang.
The explosion is believed to have come from a supermassive black hole in Ophiuchus, a cluster of galaxies just a mere 390 million light years away from Earth.
Black holes do not just pull matter into them, but also expel jets of energy and material.
Scientists first noticed something strange happening in the Ophiuchus cluster in 2016, but ruled out an explosion of the size.
Images showed an unusual curved edge in the galaxy, but the amount of energy needed to create the size of the cavity was deemed too much to be possible.
But two further observations, using Chandra and European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray space observatory, as well as telescopes in Australia and India, confirmed the crater had been caused by an explosion.
Lead author Simona Giacintucci, from the Naval Research Laboratory said they compared the explosion to the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens that tore the top of the volcano off -- albeit with one slight difference.
"The difference is that you could fit 15 Milky Way galaxies in a row into the crater this eruption punched into the cluster's hot gas," she said in a statement.
According to Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, from Curtin University, scientists are not sure why it happened.
"We've seen outbursts in the centres of galaxies before but this one is really, really massive," she said.
"But it happened very slowly, like an explosion in slow motion that took place over hundreds of millions of years."
Further observations of the wavelengths will be needed to fully understand what happened, but scientists believe the explosion has finished as their are no longer jets shooting from the black hole.