You can find trillions of cosmic explosions happening around the universe. There are different types of them and we are still finding new ones.

An international team of astronomers has found a new type of cosmic explosion in a galaxy 2.4 billion light-years away.

Researchers call this explosion PS1-10adi. Telescopes in Hawaii and La Palma observed it.

The explosion was extremely energetic. Astronomers made some measurements and it turns out to be bigger than a supernova.

They came up with two explanations: either it’s a supernova, bigger than all others, or it’s a star and a supermassive black hole is eating it.

These possibilities are similar to the previously known explosions. However, based on the scale of this particular one, scientists think something weird is happening there.

The explosion had a slow evolution, thus, researchers were able to observe the explosion for years.

“If they are supernova explosions then their properties are more extreme than we have ever observed before, and are likely connected to the central environments of the host galaxies,” says the lead author of the study Dr. Erkki Kankare, of Queen’s University Belfast. “If these explosions are tidal disruption events–where a star gets sufficiently close to a supermassive black hole’s event horizon and is shredded by the strong gravitational forces – then its properties are such that it would be a brand new type of tidal disruption event.”

Dr. Cosimo Inserra, of the University of Southampton, helped identify the only two possible theories that could explain the event. He said: “Our data show that events like this are not very unusual and challenge our knowledge of exploding and disrupting stars.”

He continued… “At the same time, their existence provides us with important information about the extreme environment in the central, hidden, part of galaxies.”

So, this kind of explosion could tell us more about similar events previously observed.

Thumbnail image credit: ESA/ATG medialab