In the constellation of the Ophiuchus we can find a truly monumental hole. It has the size of fifteen Milky way galaxies next to each other. Most likely it was created by a slow but ultimate explosion that lasted for hundreds of millions of years. But how did such an explosion come to be? We aren't completely sure.
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A Big Band – But Not THE Big Bang
We can observe one of the nearby superclusters in the Ophiuchus constellation. This Ophiuchus supercluster got created on the edge of one of the close incredibly large voids. The Ophiuchus supercluster is actually very close. Just 390 million light-years away from us.
And something incredibly energetic is taking place in this galaxy cluster. Simona Giacintucci from the Naval Research Laboratory in the USA and her coworkers recently discovered evidence of an explosion so large that it surely is the largest so far known explosion in the known Universe. According to the available information it was five times more energetic compared to the previous largest known space explosion. And it really was one heck of a bang.
Hole Large For Fifteen Galaxies
As Melanie Johnston-Hollitt from the Curtin University in Australia adds, so far we do not know why this explosion was so gigantic. But it seems that it was somewhat slow. An explosion that lasted for hundreds of millions of years. But its power was truly breathtaking. The event actually made a hole in the plasma in the cluster of galaxies.
Giacintucci compares the explosion to the Mount St. Helens eruption from the eighties. That volcanic eruption fired off the top of the mountain and made a hole in it. Similarly, the newly discovered largest explosion made a hole. Just that this time it was in the plasma of a cluster of galaxies and the hole is large enough to fit fifteen Milky ways.
The observed intergalactic “crater” is so large that scientists initially did not believe that it could have been a result of a space energy eruption. But it seems that it truly was. Space truly is a strange place. Scientists have found the explosion when they decided to look into the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster with space and terrestrial observatories. Multiple observatories contributed to the discovery – the American Chandra, European XMM-Newton together with terrestrial low-frequency radio observatories – Murchinson Widefield Array (MWA) in Western Australia and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India.
According to Johnston-Hollittle, this is sort of like galactic paleontology. And this discovery is as if they found a perfectly fossilized skeleton of a T-Rex. And on top of that, the research shows us how useful it is to research the Universe with observatories that use different wavelengths at the same time. And everything suggests that this is just the first of many other incredible discoveries that will be achieved by such cooperation.
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