BOAT, the most luminous supernova ever observed


Unraveling the mysteries of the universe has always been a fascinating scientific undertaking. In a recent cosmic event of unprecedented proportions, astronomers were fortunate enough to witness the explosion of the brightest supernova of all timenicknamed the BOAT (Brightest of All Time). This finding could offer new clues about the phenomenon of gamma-ray bursts and the formation of black holes.

The powerful LHAASO observatory

Advances in the understanding of this phenomenon are due in large part to the Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO), an observatory located almost 4,400 meters above sea level. Unlike traditional telescopes, LHAASO does not directly observe the sky, but instead tracks “air showers,” that is, the trail of particles and photons that are produced when high-energy particles from outer space collide with Earth’s atmosphere. .

This approach gives LHAASO the ability to observe high-energy events around the clock, without interference from sunlight, which is too low-energy to disturb its instruments. In addition, this observatory has a wide field of view, which makes it easy to capture cosmic events like the BOAT.

The brightest flash in the universe

When the BOAT blew up, LHAASO was up and running and managed to capture both the start of the event and its evolution over the following days. Despite the fact that the spatial resolution was not the best, a large amount of data was obtained.

One of the most surprising discoveries was the clear distinction between low-energy and high-energy photons. The data suggests that the former are the result of the interactions of the supernova jets with the turbulent remnants of the explosion. This debris limits the speed and therefore the energy of the particles in the jets.

On the other hand, the highest energy photons seem to come from areas where the jets have cleared away the supernova debris and begin to interact with the material surrounding the star. This more consistent environment allows for a less turbulent acceleration of the particles to the extreme energies needed to produce photons with energies above one tera-electron volt.

Despite the valuable new clues provided by the BOAT, there are still many puzzles to solve. The way in which black holes spurt out material remains a mystery. However, each detailed observation, such as the one made with LHAASO, brings us one step closer to understanding the most intense phenomena in the cosmos and makes us reflect on our place in this vast universe. Science, in its constant evolution, will continue to reveal the mysteries of the cosmos, always leaving us amazed at the immensity of what still remains to be discovered.

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.