The Most Powerful Black Hole Eruption Ever Seen in the Universe

Massive Black Hole Eruption Illustation

Astronomers using ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra X-ray space observatories, along with radio telescopes on ground, have spotted the aftermath of the most powerful explosion ever seen in the Universe.

The huge outburst occurred in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, a large cosmic conglomerate with thousands of galaxies, hot gas and dark matter held together by gravity, lying some 390 million light years away. In particular, the eruption is linked to powerful jets released by the supermassive black hole that sits at the core of the cluster’s central galaxy and actively feeds on the surrounding gas, occasionally blasting off large amounts of matter and energy.

Biggest Explosion in the History of the Universe

This extremely powerful eruption occurred in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, which is located about 390 million light-years from Earth. Galaxy clusters are the largest structures in the Universe held together by gravity, containing thousands of individual galaxies, dark matter, and hot gas. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Naval Research Lab/Giacintucci, S.; XMM:ESA/XMM; Radio: NCRA/TIFR/GMRTN; Infrared: 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF

In this image, the diffuse hot gas pervading the cluster is revealed through X-ray observations from XMM-Newton (shown in pink), radio data from the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (shown in blue), and infrared data from the 2MASS survey (shown in white). The inset in the lower right shows a zoomed-in X-ray view based on Chandra data (also shown in pink), while bright dots sprinkled across the image reflect the distribution of foreground stars and galaxies.

The X-ray emission reveals the edge of a large cavity, carved in the hot gas by the black hole jets. The cavity is filled with radio emission from electrons accelerated to almost the speed of light – likely a result of the black hole’s feeding activity – providing evidence that an eruption of unprecedented size took place there.

Ophiuchus Galaxy Cluster

This extremely powerful eruption occurred in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, which is located about 390 million light-years from Earth. Galaxy clusters are the largest structures in the Universe held together by gravity, containing thousands of individual galaxies, dark matter, and hot gas. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Naval Research Lab/Giacintucci, S.; XMM:ESA/XMM; Radio: NCRA/TIFR/GMRTN; Infrared: 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF

In 2016, a team of astronomers had found first hints of the giant explosion in the Chandra data, reporting the discovery of an unusual curved edge in the X-ray image of the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster. They considered whether this edge might point to a cavity in the hot gas linked to the black hole jets, but discarded the possibility at the time.

In a more recent study, published in February 2020, Simona Giacintucci of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC (US) and collaborators detected the curved edge also in XMM-Newton data, confirming the earlier Chandra observation. In this study, the scientists combined the X-ray data with radio wave observations of the Ophiuchus cluster from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Australia and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India, revealing that the curved edge delimits a region filled with radio-emitting gas and is indeed part of the wall of a cavity in the hot gas.

Galaxy Cluster MS 0735

MS 0735+74 was the previous record-holder for the most powerful eruption discovered in the universe. This Chandra image shows two vast cavities — each 600,000 light years in diameter — in the hot, X-ray emitting gas that pervades the galaxy cluster MS 0735.6+7421 (MS 0735 for short). Although the cavities contain very little hot gas, they are filled with a two-sided, elongated, magnetized bubble of extremely high-energy electrons that emit radio waves. Credit: NASA/CXC/Ohio U./B.McNamara

The black hole eruption that created the cavity released an amount of energy about five times greater than that involved in the most powerful event of this type known to date, observed in the galaxy cluster MS0735.6+7421.

Read Record-Breaking, Gargantuan Black Hole Eruption and Biggest Explosion in the History of the Universe Detected by Astronomers for more on this discovery.

References:

“Discovery of a Giant Radio Fossil in the Ophiuchus Galaxy Cluster” by S. Giacintucci, M. Markevitch, M. Johnston-Hollitt, D. R. Wik, Q. H. S. Wang and T. E. Clarke, 27 February 2020, The Astrophysical Journal.
DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab6a9d
arXiv: 2002.01291

“Deep Chandra study of the truncated cool core of the Ophiuchus cluster” by N. Werner, I. Zhuravleva, R. E. A. Canning, S. W. Allen; A. L. King; J. S. Sanders, A. Simionescu, G. B.Taylor, R. G. Morris and A. C. Fabian, 16 May 2016, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stw1171

5 Comments on "The Most Powerful Black Hole Eruption Ever Seen in the Universe"

  1. Gadfly Giznot | March 15, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Reply

    Again, just say some dark undetectable force is the cause, no need to consider alternatives. Always the usual suspects of black holes, dark matter, dark energy, etc that can’t be directly detected to explain all the things that are detected.

    “the eruption is linked to powerful jets released by the supermassive black hole that sits at the core of the cluster’s central galaxy and actively feeds on the surrounding gas, occasionally blasting off large amounts of matter and energy.”

    So, the immense gravity of black holes capture everything, even light, yet at the same time produce jets and large amounts of matter and energy. Huh? Seems the only thing that’s bigger than the universe itself is the fudge factor these people are using to explain it.

  2. Gadfly Giznot | March 15, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Reply

    BTW, just read your article in Health, Surprising Impact on Fat Metabolism: How Intermittent Fasting Changes Liver Enzymes and Helps Prevent Disease. Interesting contrast to the article above. Scientists conducting lab experiments and drawing useful and no doubt independently verifiable data from the results to provide beneficial models, vs the non-scientific unverifiable hype and speculation above.

  3. janet colborn | July 23, 2020 at 3:34 am | Reply

    NASA IS A OLD GROUP OF WIERDOS AND MOLESTERS THAT ARE TRYING TO BLOW UP THE ANGELS NEW GENISUS AND GOD PROTECTION OF BLACK HOLE FENCE ROCK CHEW BECAUSE THEY HATE GOD AND ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RAPE OF THE RESSERECT OF THE DEAD BIBLICAL DEAD AND THE RESSERECT RETARDED AND HAVE RAPED THEM ALL DEAD AND SO GROTESQUE THAT THEY HAVE TO KILL GOD

    • IN THE TIME OF EVE IN EDEN EVE’S MISSING FROM THE RESSERECTORY THEY HAVE BEEN DOING PLASTIC SURGERY IN THE WOMB AND NASA IS A GROUP OF WIERDOS THAT HATE GOD AND ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ATROCITIE COMMITTED ALREADY THE REAL GANG NAME IS WE CAN DO WHAT YOU CAN DO.. NOBODY WOULD DO WHAT YOU GOD DAMN WIERDO INCOMPREHENSIBLE WIERDO DO THEY ARE NOT SANE PURE MOLESTER RAPESTS AND GOULS PERVERTED RAPEST SKUM AND HAVE BEEN OVER SEXUAL INSIDE THE HOLY RESSERECT BODIES OF THE RESSERECT OF THE DEAD AND RETARDED AND HAVE TO KILL GOD OVER RAPE THEY PUT DINK HOLES COVERING THE VICTIMS BODIES AND EVEN RAPE THE CORPES

  4. Janet; where do you come from girl? At least they are trying to make sense with reality unlike the hocus pocus that you believe on

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