A stellar cosmic outburst first detected by NASA on late March this year has been determined by scientists as a star, almost the same size of the solar system's sun, which was gobbled up by a previously dormant black hole.
In a report posted online by the journal Science on Thursday, two teams of researchers from the University of California in Berkeley and the University of Warwick in England have agreed that the flashing lights seen through the NASA Swift satellite on March 28 was actually a black hole feeding on the unsuspecting star that got too close.
According to the Associated Press, the burst of rays emitted by the ensuing explosions were first concluded by astronomers as a star that imploded but the extending flash of lights effectively belied that assumption as such events consume energy that last for some hours and not days or weeks.
By using space-borne and ground-based telescopes, scientists finally established that the space explosions were brought about by the star sucked by the black hole, which produced high emissions of radiation that is seen on Earth as a stellar display.
Scientists said that the cosmic event is still visible as of this week.
While the previously plotted black hole has been tagged as inactive prior to the event, astronomers said its normal functions of swirling and scooping up objects within its path and sight could never be discounted.
In its report, the two teams of researchers said that as the star was slurped in by the black hole, it generated a flashing energy that can be observed from Earth using powerful telescopes.
The teams also noted that the event took place some 3.8 billion light years away from Earth.
Scientists said that such events are actually a rarity and any chance of the Milky Way, the galaxy where earth belongs, suffering would be too remote.
The significance of such events, according to astronomers, is they provide fresher details that enable scientists to better map the origin of the universe and the formation of the billions of galaxies that populate its still uncharted expanse.