“It was a spark in the night. A flash of X-rays from a galaxy hovering nearly invisibly on the edge of infinity. Astronomers say they do not know what caused it.” Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes the New York Times:
The orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory, was in the midst of a 75-day survey of a patch of sky known as the Chandra Deep Field-South, when it recorded the burst from a formerly quiescent spot in the cosmos. For a few brief hours on Oct 1, 2014, the X-rays were a thousand times brighter than all the light from its home galaxy, a dwarf unremarkable speck almost 11 billion light years from here, in the constellation Fornax. Then whatever had gone bump in the night was over and the X-rays died.
The event as observed does not fit any known phenomena, according to Franz Bauer, an astronomer at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and lead author of a report to be published in Science.
He described some possible explanation in a blog post this week — for example, a star being torn apart by a black hole, or the afterglow from a gamma ray burst seen sideways — but the spectrum readings aren’t a match, according to the Times. “None of the usual cosmic catastrophe suspects work.”
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