If you think our Earth is already a pretty dangerous place, then you should focus your attention on what deep space has to offer. Besides asteroids and comets, there are much more tremendously terrifying cosmic monsters lurking in the dark. Phenomenons such as black holes, quasars, or supernovas can obliterate us in a split second.
But even more frightening can be a quasar sending huge outbursts of energy, as scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope had detected. This phenomenon provides some work for scientists since they are trying to find out how such structures are forming, and also hoping to find out more about galaxy formation.
How big are the outbursts?
The lead author Nahum Arav gives us a pretty good idea about how big the outbursts are:
“[The Milky Way] is a medium-to-large scale galaxy, and the total amount of radiation coming out of it is basically a number times 1044 ergs per second,”
“The outflows we see are producing 100 times more kinetic energy than the whole output of our galaxy in visible light.”
But what’s so special about these outbursts, anyway? Surely astronomers had all seen before outbursts of energy coming from quasars. However, these are different because they’re more like spheres of energy expanding at thousands of kilometers per second.
The researchers measured 13 outflows from the quasar by using the Hubble Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS). This tool measures the spectra, or wavelengths of radiation. This gives the astronomers the chance of figuring out what elements are contained in the outflows, and their temperature and speed.
Luckily for us, we shouldn’t be worried about our precious planet getting caught by the outburst. The quasar is so far away that it would take much more than a human lifetime to reach it even with the speed of light. And Einstein assured us that we can’t surpass the speed of light, so we might as well cancel any planned trip to the quasar.
The study was published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplements.