Astronomers at a distance of 180 million light-years from Earth recorded an explosion that challenges our current understanding of explosions in space – it turned out to be much “flatter” than was ever thought possible.
This is reported by EurekAlert with reference to the results of a study by scientists from the University of Sheffield (UK).
Explosions are expected to almost always be spherical, since the stars themselves are spherical, but this explosion is the flattest ever seen, the article notes.
This explosion engulfed space the size of our solar system, part of its shape is similar to a very flat disk.
The observed explosion was a bright fast blue optical transient (FBOT) – an extremely rare class of explosions, much rarer than other explosions such as supernovae. The first bright FBOT was discovered in 2018 and was nicknamed “cow,” scientists say.
It is still not clear how bright FBOT explosions occur, so scientists hope that new research will shed light on this issue.
Very little is known about FBOT explosions – they just don’t behave like stars should explode, they’re too bright, and they evolve too fast. Simply put, they are strange, and this new observation makes them even weirder, the researchers note.
Scientists have several explanations for the asphericity of this explosion:
- the stars involved may have created the disk right before they died;
- these can be failed supernovae, where the core of a star collapses into a black hole or neutron star, which then “eats” the rest of the star.
What we now know for sure is that the recorded levels of asymmetry are a key part of understanding these mysterious explosions, and it challenges our preconceptions about how stars can explode in the universe, the researchers note.
See also: Astronomers have discovered a record “space cow”
I am David Wyatt, a professional writer and journalist for Buna Times. I specialize in the world section of news coverage, where I bring to light stories and issues that affect us globally. As a graduate of Journalism, I have always had the passion to spread knowledge through writing.