In February 2020 scientists detected the biggest explosion since the Big Bang. The reality of these intergalactic discoveries is always hard to fathom, but reports indicate the explosion was five times bigger than anything previously observed. Ever. In the history of everything.
What was the source of this colossal space noise? The current thinking is that it came from a supermassive black hole located a tidy 390 million light years from Earth. Hold on a second – you mean to say that supermassive black hole isn’t just the name of a Muse song?
So how on Earth – or in this case how on the Ophiuchus Supercluster – can we understand what this means? “I’ve tried to put this explosion into human terms and it’s really, really difficult,” said researcher Melanie Johnston-Hollitt. Johnston-Hollitt had a crack, but everything sounded abstract and unreal. So she summarised: “[It was] incomprehensibly big. Huge.”
The Ophiuchus Supercluster is thought to contain thousands of galaxies. And the reason we’re talking about it is because, while using the words of a Muse song might suffice as a scientific explanation, couldn’t there be another cause?
We don’t know for sure that the explosion wasn’t the sound of the Death Star exploding as the result of a tenacious Rebel attack. Or worse, that the noise didn’t signify Star Destroyers had obliterated a whole swathe of planets home to resistance personnel.
It’s at least possible that events similar to those featured in the Star Wars films could be happening. Though, we doubt the planets in the Ophiuchus Supercluster are home to people speaking English and naming their children things like Luke and Rey.
Either way, if the battle for the galaxy did descend upon us, what part would you play? Would you immediately join the resistance and oppose the evil Galactic Empire? Or would you dutifully follow the commands of Governor Tarkin and do the Empire’s bidding?
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