Explosion greater than 50 Million suns discovered in nearby galaxy

A team of international researchers has discovered explosions in a nearby galaxy larger than 50 million suns.

They studied galaxy NGC 4383, in the nearby Virgo cluster, revealing a gas outflow so large that it would take 20,000 years for light to travel from one side to the other.

Lead author Dr Adam Watts, from The University of Western Australia node at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said the outflow was the result of powerful stellar explosions in the central regions of the galaxy that could eject enormous amounts of hydrogen and heavier elements.

The mass of gas ejected is equivalent to more than 50 million Suns.

"Very little is known about the physics of outflows and their properties because outflows are very hard to detect," Dr Watts said. "The ejected gas is quite rich in heavy elements giving us a unique view of the complex process of mixing between hydrogen and metals in the outflowing gas. "In this particular case, we detected oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur and many other chemical elements."

Gas outflows are crucial to regulate how fast and for how long galaxies can keep forming stars. The gas ejected by these explosions pollutes the space between stars within a galaxy, and even between galaxies, and can float in the intergalactic medium forever.