Astronomers have pinpointed the cause of a space explosion that emitted as much energy in two weeks as the sun will generate over its entire lifetime. This extraordinary event, named AT2022aedm, challenges our understanding of celestial phenomena and is believed to result from the dramatic encounter between a star and a smaller or medium-sized black hole.
Initially mistaken for a supernova, AT2022aedm stood out due to its extreme brightness and rapid fade. Unlike typical supernovas, which gradually dim over months, AT2022aedm dimmed to just 1% of its original brightness in just 14 days, eventually disappearing entirely.
The unusual nature of AT2022aedm led scientists to explore unconventional explanations. The prevailing theory points to a star's unfortunate proximity to a smaller black hole. When a star strays too close to such a black hole, it can be torn apart in a process called "spaghettification," releasing an extraordinary amount of energy in the process.
While this explanation is compelling, another intriguing possibility remains – the involvement of an intermediate-mass black hole.