Back in June 2018, several telescopes identified a bright burst in a galaxy 200 million light years away from the Earth. Even though initially the scientists believed it was a supernova, now, according to new research, astronomers believe that they observed a black hole birth or neutron star formation.
A black hole is the most mysterious space object. Black holes represent a class of celestial bodies where spacetime exhibit such strong gravitational effects that nothing, not even the light particles, can escape from being absorbed. On the other hand, a neutron star is an impressively dense and powerful stellar object.
A star of at least five times more massive than our Sun will turn into a supernova before dying out. Its core will turn into iron, stopping the fusion and unbalancing the inward and outward pressure, a phenomenon that would result into a massive explosion. In June 2018, scientists thought they witnessed a supernova in a galaxy 200 million light years away from Earth.
Black Hole Birth or Neutron Star Formation Captured by Telescopes, Astronomers Believe
However, in a recent study published in the Astrophysical Journal, the astronomers believe that the burst that several telescopes identified in June 2018 was not a supernova. According to new research, that was one massive explosion of light, by 10 to 100 times brighter than most supernovas. Also, the light particles speeded up to about 30,000 km/s, about 10 percent the speed of light, causing the burst to fade away fast, by a few times quicker than the majority of supernovas.
“Given how luminous this thing was and how quickly it went to peak, we knew right away we needed a different source of energy than the normal supernovae. The Cow [as the burst was nicknamed] started to look very, very different from anything we had ever seen in the X-ray,” explained Raffaela Margutti from the Northwestern University in Illinois, and the new study’s leading author.
According to the scientists, the burst could’ve been caused by a black hole birth. Also, the astronomers’ second hypothesis says that a neutron star formation might have triggered the massive explosion of light identified by telescopes in June 2018. The light burst would’ve happened when the neutron star pulled in material and brightened as it formed.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.