It’s a tale as old as time. A cataclysmic event occurs in the universe and releases a tremendous amount of energy in a short period of time. The event then fades into the darkness and the cosmos returns to normal. These short-lived cosmic events are known as transients and include things such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. Transients are quite common, but some of them can challenge explanations. Take for example the transient known as ZTF20abrbeie, nicknamed Scary Barbie.Continue reading “What a Mess. A Black Hole's Stellar Meal is Brighter and Longer Lasting Than Ever Seen Before”
When a flash of light appears somewhere in the sky, astronomers notice. When it appears in a region of the sky not known to host a stellar object that’s flashed before, they really sit up and take notice. In astronomical parlance, objects that emit flashing light are called transients.
Earlier this year, astronomers spotted a transient that flashed with the light of a trillion Suns.Continue reading “A Black Hole Consumed a Star and Released the Light of a Trillion Suns”
Just 4,000 light-years from Earth is a strange, star-sized object. It’s been observed by radio telescopes, but astronomers aren’t sure what it is. They call it a long period transient.Continue reading “Astronomers Discover a Mysterious Star That Flashes Every 20 Minutes. But What is it?”
The center of the Milky Way is a mysterious place. Astronomers think there’s a supermassive black hole there, though it could be dark matter instead. The region is densely packed with stars, dominated by red giants. And because of all the dust between Earth and the galactic center, we can’t see anything with visible light, ultraviolet light, or low-energy x-rays.
But we can detect radio waves, and there are some unexplained ones coming from the center of the galaxy, and adding to the mystery.Continue reading “What’s Causing the Mysterious Radio Waves Coming From the Center of the Milky Way?”
This is our second episode in a two part series where we look at Transients in astronomy. In last week’s episode, we talked about things that change here in our own Solar System. Now we’ll talk about everything else in the Milky Way and beyond.
Continue reading “Astronomy Cast Ep. 520: Transients: What They Are and Why They Matter Part 2”
Astronomers have found that sometimes the Universe changes. Things move, things explode, things get brighter or dimmer. In fact, knowing this has helped astronomers discover some very important aspects of the Universe. Today we begin a two part series on Transients and their role in astronomy.
Continue reading “Astronomy Cast Ep. 519: Transients: What They Are and Why They Matter”