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A Star’s Death Giving Life to a Monster

5 May 2011, 20:13 UTC
A Star’s Death Giving Life to a Monster
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3.8 billion light years away in the constellation Draco deep inside the centre of an inconspicuous galaxy, something happened at 12:57:45 on the 28th of March 2011 that flooded the SWIFT satellite’s sensors with x-rays, and in the process sent astronomers scrambling to get a glimpse with their ground and space-based observatories.
If you look at the light curve provided by SWIFT, the x-ray brightness fluctuates considerably over a period of days. You get the first massive burst, then it calms, and then you get some more bursts days after the original event. This is very different from GRBs, such events usually consist of a huge burst of x-rays and then a dimmer afterglow of a whole variety of radiation before fading from view over a period of hours at the most. So if it isn’t a GRB, then what is it?

The massive bursts happen to be coming from the centre of the galaxy, lighting up the heart of the galaxy with the power of 1 trillion suns; outshining the galaxy itself 100 times over. Like most of the galaxy population, a super massive black hole (SMBH) happens to lurk here. Could it be that the black hole has ...

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