New Type of Space Explosion Shows the Birth of a Black Hole

According to ancient studies and observations, the universe is everything that exists physically, the sum of space and time and, of course, the different forms of matter. And since the universe and everything that surrounds it has always been a topic of great curiosity, scientists do not stop making discoveries about it.

In 2018, astronomers were very impressed to find a very bizarre explosion in a galaxy 200 million light years away. The explosion was not like any supernova seen before. She was shorter and brighter. This explosion received its official designation, AT2018cow. But he soon earned the nickname “the Cow”.

This short-lived event, known as a transient, defies explanation. Some thought it could be a star being torn apart by a nearby black hole. Others said it was a failed supernova, where the black hole eats a star from the inside out. But to know for sure what this explosion was, they needed to find more events similar to the Cow.


After two years, a similar event was found. The telescopes observed something similar in a galaxy three billion light years away, starting on October 12, 2020. The event also became incredibly bright and then disappeared.

According to an article published by astronomers, the behavior was identical to that of the Cow. With that, they came to the conclusion that it must be the same type of event. For this reason, this other event followed tradition and received an animal-inspired name: the Camel.

“It is really exciting. The discovery of a new transient such as AT2018cow shows that it is not entirely uncommon. It’s a new type of transient that we’re looking at, ”said Deanne Coppejans, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University.

The Cow was a total surprise when observed and astronomers were not sure what they were seeing. The Camel, on the other hand, was like a thief activating a new alarm system.

“We were able to realize what he was a few days after he exploded. And we have a lot of follow-up data, ”said Daniel Perley, an astrophysicist at Liverpool John Moores University, who was the leader of the new study.


After four days, the team used telescopes in the Canary Islands and Hawaii to obtain vital data on Camel properties. After that, they sent an alert to other astronomers via Astronomer’s Telegram.

Like its predecessor, the Camel had an extreme shine in a short time. It peaked in two or three days. And it was about 100 times brighter than any normal supernova. After that it darkened quickly, in a process that lasted only a few days. “It disappears very quickly and, at the same time, remains hot,” said Perley.

Before making this discovery, astronomers searched the historical data for events similar to the Cow. Koala and CSS161010 were found. But the Camel was the first to be observed in real time. Because of this, it was studied in detail.


These four events have similar properties. They get shiny very quickly and fade just as quickly. In addition, they are warm, which makes them appear blue.

“The explosion itself and the type of behavior after the zombie dies are very similar. All events appear to be some kind of explosion from a star that collides with nearby gas and dust. But the collision stage where you see the explosion colliding with material in the environment, showed some variation in the amount of material scattered and in the speed at which the shock wave from the explosion is hitting the material, ”said Anna Ho, an astrophysicist at University of California at Berkeley, which discovered the Koala and was part of the Camel’s discovery team.

At the moment, the main idea is the failed supernova hypothesis. But in the case of the Camel and the Cow something unusual happens in the process of collapse of the nucleus, ”said Perley. “What we say is that, instead of becoming a neutron star, it collapsed into a black hole, and most of the star fell into the black hole.”

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