Astronomical devices have tracked AT2021lwx, the largest cosmic explosion ever seen by humanity. The explosion is 10 times brighter than a supernova, the cataclysmic death of a star, and three times brighter than a tidal disruption event (TDE), the flare visible when a black hole devours a wayward star.
AT2021lwx has lasted over three years, unlike supernovae.
The explosion occurred eight billion years ago when the cosmos was six billion years old. Researchers think a supermassive black hole disturbed a vast gas cloud, causing shock waves to flow through the cloud and material to gather in a disc around the black hole.
This is like a TDE, but the black hole swallowed part of a stellar nursery instead of one star.
AT2021lwx, a three-year-old event 10 times brighter than a supernova,
Last year’s 221009A gamma-ray burst, the BOAT, was the brightest explosion ever. It was brighter than AT2021lwx but shorter-lived and closer. AT2021lwx releases considerably more energy than 221009A.
The Royal Astronomical Society Monthly Notices reported the findings. Philip Wiseman, lead author of the article, adds, “We came upon this by chance, as it was flagged by our search algorithm when we were searching for a type of supernova. Most supernovae and tidal disruption events fade within a few months. Something brilliant for two years was unusual.”
To understand more about the item, the researchers will investigate it at different frequencies and run computer simulations to evaluate ideas.