An explosion brighter than 100,000 million suns captured

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The astronomer Rafael Bachiller In this series, he reveals to us the most spectacular phenomena of the Cosmos. Topics of pulsating research, astronomical adventures and scientific news about the Universe analyzed in depth.

In a distant galaxy, a explosion of very high luminosity: In two weeks it emitted as much energy as the Sun did during its entire life. Its origin is uncertain, but it could have been caused by the fall of a star into a black hole.

The ATLAS network is made up of four robotic telescopes, with 50 cm diameter mirrors, two of them are located in Hawaii, one in Chile and the other in South Africa. In addition, a fifth telescope, which is being built at the Teide Observatory (Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics) will soon expand the capacity of this network.

The mission of such telescopes is to scan the sky every night in search of celestial phenomena that can appear suddenly. For example, asteroids approaching Earth, comets, supernova explosions and all types of explosions that produce rapid brightening at a specific point in the sky. Immediately, after the discovery of one of these phenomena, the network gives a alerts the International Astronomical Union so that astronomers from all over the world can continue studying the phenomenon with more powerful telescopes and in greater detail.

On December 30, 2022, ATLAS issued an alert of the discovery of what It seemed to be a supernova which was baptized AT2022aedm. The network detects hundreds of such explosions each year, but this one seemed especially bright. Almost immediately, astronomers who were observing in other larger telescopes began to take data from that bright point. It was soon concluded that the phenomenon was happening in a very distant elliptical galaxy, about two billion light years away.

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