Our Galaxy’s Explosive Past
A huge energy flare ripped through the heart of our galaxy about 3.5 million years ago. A blast so extremely powerful, it could be felt 200k light-years away and lasted more than 300k years.
A study concluded by researchers in Australia and the U.S. found that the former belief that “our galaxy was an inactive galaxy” may in fact not be correct. These new results open the possibility of a complete reinterpretation of our galaxy’s evolution and nature.
Their data is based on research utilizing the Hubble Space Telescope. It is believed that the Seyfert flare was triggered by nuclear activity near Sagittarius A, the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. The flare is said to have created two “ionization cones” that ripped through the Milky Way and left their mark on the Magellanic Stream which is a long trail of gas that partially circles the galaxy.
The researchers stated that “The flare must have been a bit like a lighthouse beam,” “Imagine darkness, and then someone switches on a lighthouse beacon.”