Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
  1. Surge Protector Amazon
    15:01 Deals

    Brilliant $30 Amazon find expands a power outlet without an ugly power strip

  2. Screwdriver Set Amazon
    13:47 Deals

    Amazon shoppers rave about this 22-in-1 screwdriver set that’s down to $18 today

  3. Kasa Smart Home Sale
    12:05 Deals

    Amazon’s massive Kasa smart home sale has deeper discounts than Prime Day

  4. Best Beach Towels For Sand
    09:02 Deals

    You’ll never go to the beach again without this $17 Amazon find from a viral TikTok

  5. Amazon Deals
    10:12 Deals

    Today’s top deals: $50 soundbar, Alexa in your car for $20, $90 Ring Doorbell 2, $23…

Scientists spotted a bizarre X-ray blast in a distant galaxy

September 9th, 2019 at 10:58 AM
space x-ray blast

Thanks to ever-advancing observational technology, astronomers can now spot distant galaxies in greater detail than ever before. For scientists, being able to study these distant locations in space is exciting, but when they spot something unexpected, their incredible distance from Earth means coming up with an explanation is difficult.

That’s exactly what a team of researchers using NASA’s NuSTAR space observatory is dealing with after recent observations of the galaxy NGC 6946 revealed powerful flashes of X-ray energy where nobody was expecting them. In a new paper published in The Astrophysical Journal, the scientists venture a guess as to what exactly is going on.

The team spotted these unusual X-ray flashes while scanning the distant galaxy for something else entirely: supernova explosions. In searching for the telltale signals of supernova blasts within the galaxy’s long, curved arms, the team spotted a brilliant X-ray source that had appeared essentially out of nowhere.

The bright flash — seen in the above image as green, in contrast to the blue supernova signals near the top of the frame — wasn’t there just ten days prior, meaning that some incredibly powerful source created it. In follow-up observations using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the brilliant flash was once again nowhere to be seen.

“Ten days is a really short amount of time for such a bright object to appear,” Hannah Earnshaw, lead author of the study, said in a statement. “Usually with NuSTAR, we observe more gradual changes over time, and we don’t often observe a source multiple times in quick succession. In this instance, we were fortunate to catch a source changing extremely quickly, which is very exciting.”

So what was it? Well, at a distance of over 22 million light-years from Earth, we may never know for certain. However, the most plausible explanation the researchers have come up with is that the bright beam was produced by a black hole swallowing a star, resulting in a brief but incredibly bright X-ray emission. In any case, it was a rare and exciting sighting.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today,, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

Popular News