AT2021lwx largest cosmic explosion


  • Astronomers say they have uncovered the largest cosmic explosion known as AT2021lwx ever witnessed, which has currently lasted over three years.

About AT2021lwx

  • The explosion, took place nearly eight billion light years away, when the universe was around six billion years old, and is still being detected by a network of telescopes. Astronomers have uncovered the largest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, which has currently lasted over three years. Image for Representation.

    AT2021lwx largest cosmic explosion
    Photo Credit: Reuters
  • The explosion is more than ten times brighter than any known supernova or exploding star and three times brighter than the brightest tidal disruption event, where a star falls into a supermassive black hole, they said.
  • The event has currently lasted over three years, compared to most supernovae, which are only visibly bright for a few months, according to the resaerchers.
  • The explosion is a result of a vast cloud of gas, possibly thousands of times larger than the Sun, that has been violently disrupted by a supermassive black hole.
  • Last year, astronomers witnessed the brightest explosion on record—a gamma-ray burst known as GRB 221009A. While this was brighter than AT2021lwx, it lasted for just a fraction of the time, meaning the overall energy released by the AT2021lwx explosion is far greater.
  • AT2021lwx was first detected in 2020 by the Zwicky Transient Facility in California, US, and subsequently picked up by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) based in Hawaii.
  • These facilities survey the night sky to detect transient objects that rapidly change in brightness indicating cosmic events such as supernovae, as well as finding asteroids and comets.

Source: TH

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