Astronomers, using several ground-based space telescopes, have discovered an enormous explosion in the universe that has been observable for over three years.

Astronomers observe massive explosion in the universe
Image credit: John A. Paice

The event is designated as AT2021lwx and was first detected in 2020 as a flash of light in the sky. When it was determined that it occurred 8 billion light-years away from us, when the universe was only about 6 billion years old, the power of the explosion became apparent. According to astronomers, the observation of the explosion has been ongoing for over three years, and the light from the explosion is ten times brighter than the light from the most powerful supernova known to date. Supernovas, which are stars that explode, usually shine at their brightest for only a few hours.

The exact cause of the explosion is not known. However, there is a theory that it may be due to an enormous gas cloud, possibly thousands of times larger than our own sun, being consumed by a black hole. Astronomers hope that in the future, with the operation of the powerful Vera C. Rubin Observatory, formerly known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), they will be able to determine what caused this significant explosion when it becomes operational next year.

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