We got it done pretty well here on our little blue ball orbiting a relatively relaxed star, but the room is dark and frightening. In a new article published in The Astrophysical Journal scientists using data from NASA's NICER telescope reveal the discovery of an absolutely massive energy blast discovered about 11,000 light-years from Earth ,
NICER, a high-tech sensor installed on the International Space Station, recognized the incredible release of energy from a system called the SAX J1808. Unlike our own solar system, J1808 is a binary system, ie its heart is made up of two objects, not one.
In the case of J1808, the primary object is a neutron star. Her companion is a brown dwarf who is cooler than a star but larger than a planet. The neutron star, also called pulsar, collects gas from the brown dwarf, and this relationship leads from time to time to a truly apocalyptic explosion.
The explosion itself only takes seconds, but the amount of energy released when the outermost layers emerge from the pulsed toning is mind-boggling. As NASA explains in a recent blog post, it would take 1
"This eruption was excellent," said senior researcher Peter Bult, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and at the University of Maryland, College Park. "We are seeing a two-step brightness change, which in our opinion is caused by the ejection of separate layers from the pulsar surface, and other features that help us decipher the physics of these powerful events."
It was the largest X-ray ever discovered by the NICER Observatory, was discovered in August. Of course, analyzing and interpreting the data takes time, and the full article describing the discovery has recently been published.