NASA spacecraft join in cosmic observation

cosmic observation
NASA says three of its orbiting spacecraft have teamed up to study a puzzling cosmic blast of energy, one that has lasted more than a week.

The Swift Gamma Burst Mission spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory have been observing a phenomenon scientists say is brighter, longer-lasting and more variable than anything they've seen before, a NASA release said Thursday.

Astronomers say the unusual blast is likely the result of a star wandering too close to its galaxy's central black hole where intense gravitation tidal are tearing the star apart, and the in-falling gas is streaming toward the hole.

The model suggests the spinning black hole has formed an outflowing jet of X-rays and gamma rays along its rotational axis that is pointed in our direction.

"The best explanation at the moment is that we happen to be looking down the barrel of this jet," said Andrew Levan at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, who led the Chandra observations.

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