A mysterious flash of X-rays has been spotted by Nasa’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in deep space, and astronomers are at a loss to explain it.
The X-ray source, located in a region of the sky known as the Chandra Deep Field-South (CDF-S), was unremarkable before October 2014 – but then it erupted and became at least 1000 times brighter in a few hours. After about a day, the source had faded to the point that it couldn’t be detected by Chandra.
“Ever since discovering this source, we’ve been struggling to understand its origin,” said Franz Bauer of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, Chile. “It’s like we have a jigsaw puzzle but we don’t have all of the pieces.”