Astronomers have detected the most powerful cosmic explosion ever observed. The explosive event has been raging for at least three years and is also 10 times brighter than any recorded supernova explosion.
A flash in the sky was first automatically detected in 2020 using the Zwicky Transient Facility in California. The scale of the discovery became evident as soon as scientists were able to determine the distance to the explosion. According to their data, it is not only the most powerful explosion but also the longest.
The event, known as AT2021lwx, occurred 8 billion light-years from Earth and thus occurred when our universe was just 6 billion years old. The cause of the mysterious blast is unclear, but astronomers believe it is likely the result of a vast cloud of gas thousands of times larger than the Sun being swallowed up by a supermassive black hole.
The team now observes the explosion in more detail and in different wavelengths. This may reveal the event's temperature and the processes driving it.