A massive explosion took place at the centre of the Milky Way just 300,000 years ago and it was big enough to be felt over 200,000 light-years away from it. According to the researchers, such a powerful explosion could be from Sagittarius A, the supermassive black hole at the centre of it. This is about 4.2 million times more massive than the Sun. It was revealed during the study conducted by a team of researchers led by Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D). The study will be soon published in The Astrophysical Journal. The first evidence of the event was named BH2013 and as the name suggests, it was published in 2013.
Two enormous ‘ionization cones’ were created because of this phenomenon, known as a Seyfert flare. It was so strong that it impacted the Magellanic Stream which lied at an average 2 million lights years from the Milky Way. Professor Bland-Hawthorn, who is also at the University of Sydney, said that flare must have been like a lighthouse beam. Researchers used data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope to find the exact time when the explosion took place. The study found that it took place over three million years ago. This is astonishingly recent in Galactic terms but on earth, 63 million years had passed ever since the asteroid triggered the extinction of dinosaurs.
The study also changed the way we used to think about the Milky Way. The massive blast of energy and radiation that came out of the galactic centre shows that Milky Way is a much more dynamic place than most of the researchers had previously thought, said astronomer Lisa Kewley of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3D and the Australian National University. Magda Guglielmo, co-author from the University of Sydney, said these discoveries open the possibility of a complete reinterpretation of our Galaxy and its evolution and nature.