Astronomers recently declared that they have discovered a new type of star explosion in space. The findings come after scientists analyzed a mysterious explosion in 2018 and realized that it was an entirely different type of star combustion, coming in at 10 times larger than normal supernovas.
According to Science Alert, astronomers have named the new event Fast Blue Optical Transients, or FBOTs. FBOTs are quick bursts of extreme and powerful energy. They also function as a sort of cannon, propelling large amounts of matter into space.
The first FBOT that scientists noticed was the aforementioned 2018 explosion, which was nicknamed “the Cow.” The bright explosion caused consternation when it was discovered that the event had taken place in a galaxy over 200 million light-years away — meaning that the explosion must have been greater than previous types of explosions in the books.
Once astronomers discovered the existence of FBOTs, two other cases — even larger than “the Cow” — have been recorded.
One of the events took place in a galaxy 500 million light-years away. The other, which has been dubbed “the Koala,” occurred in a galaxy an eye-watering 3.4 billion light-years away.
The combination of brightness and distance for “the Koala” originally had one astronomer believing that the data had been corrupted.
“When I reduced the data, I thought I made a mistake,” said Anna Ho, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology who led the Koala study.
“The ‘Koala’ resembled the ‘Cow’ but the radio emission was ten times brighter — as bright as a gamma-ray burst!” she added.
The explosion was so powerful that it ejected mass at around 55 percent the speed of light. Though some explosions can expel small amounts of material at rates close to light speeds, it was previously unheard of for large matter to move anywhere close to such velocity.
“We thought we knew what produced the fastest outflows in nature,” explained astronomer Raffaella Margutt of Northwestern University.
“We thought there were only two ways to produce them — by collapsing a massive star with a gamma ray burst or two neutron stars merging. We thought that was it. With this study, we are introducing a third way to launch these outflows. There is a new beast out there, and it’s able to produce the same energetic phenomenon,” he added.
Astronomers still do not know what exactly causes the FBOT explosions. However, two current theories believe that events happen after a black hole devours a white dwarf or are the result of an unusual core-collapse supernova.
Meanwhile, in other space news, scientists have discovered a new black hole so close to earth that it can be seen by the naked eye, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.