Scientists are Still Perplexed about the Source of Cosmic Explosion Discovered back in 2014

Back in 2014, scientists discovered a new X-ray source at NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. While the source of the X-ray might be coming from some sort of destructive event, scientists are still confused about the mysterious flashes of X-ray.

The source of the mysterious flashes were discovered by a Penn State postdoctoral researcher; Niel Brandt, the Verne M. Willaman Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and professor of physics at Penn State; and Franz Bauer, an associate professor of astrophysics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, Chile. The source of the flashes is located in a region of the sky known as the Chandra Deep Field-South (CDF-S). The source of the flashes has mysterious qualities. For example, prior to October 2014, the source wasn’t detected in X-rays but then suddenly it erupted and became surprisingly brighter inside few hours. Since then, the source completely faded away.

Since then, scientists have collected thousands of legacy data from the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes and concluded that the mysterious flashes of X-ray came from a small galaxy which is more than 10 billion light years away. To make the event more surprising, the source of the X-ray produced more energy than all of the stars in the galaxy.

While scientists are still uncertain about the cause, there are three main possibilities that can explain the event. Two of these three main possibilities include gamma-ray burst events. As GRBs are jetted explosions and if the jet is pointed towards the Earth, we can detect the gamma-rays. However, the gamma ray burst that might have caused the mysterious event, wasn’t pointed towards the Earth, or a GRB that lies beyond the small galaxy. Third possible explanation includes the idea of a medium-sized black hole shredded a white dwarf star.

However, as the source of the X-ray wasn’t seen in the past although the region has been expanding for more than 17 years, it’s extremely difficult to explain the phenomenon. Moreover, no other similar event has been found till date making the event more perplexing. However, if such event occurs in future and closer to earth, it would be detectable with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). We have to wait and see if such event occurs in near future to understand the matter.

Source: Sciecedaily

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons

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