Researchers find evidence of a cataclysmic outbreak that struck so far from the galaxy, its impact felt at a distance of 200,000 light years.
A titanic, expanding beam of energy flowed from a near-supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way just 3.5 million years ago, sending a cone-like burst of radiation across both galactic poles and the glacial pole.
This is the result of research conducted by a team of scientists led by Professor Joss Bland-Hawthor of the Australian Center of Excellence for All-Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D) and will soon be published in The Astrophys .
The phenomenon known as the Seifert outbreak created two huge "ionization cones" that erupted through the Milky Way ̵
The outburst was so powerful that it affected the Magellanic flow – a long trace of gas extending from nearby dwarf galaxies called the Great and Small Magellanic Clouds. The Magellanic flux averages 200,000 light-years from the Milky Way.
The explosion was too huge, according to an Australian-American research team, to be caused by anything but nuclear activity related to a black hole known as Sagittarius A or Srg A *, which is approximately 4 in size. 2 million times more massive than the Sun.
"The glitter was probably a bit like a beacon beam," says Professor Bland-Hawthorn, who is also at the University of Sydney.
"Imagine the darkness and then someone switches on the lighthouse for a short time."
Using data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers estimate that the massive explosion occurred just over three million years ago.
In galactic terms, this is surprisingly recent. On Earth at this time, the asteroid that triggered the extinction of dinosaurs was in the past 63 million years, and the ancient ancestors of mankind, Australopithecus were in Africa.
"This is a dramatic event that happened millions of years ago in the history of the Milky Way," says Professor Lisa Keuli, director of ASTRO 3D.
"A massive explosion of energy and radiation came directly from the galactic center and into the surrounding material. shows that the center of the Milky Way is a much more dynamic place than we thought before. Fortunately, we don't live there! "
The explosion is estimated to have lasted perhaps 300,000 years – an extremely short galactic period.  During the research to the professor Bland-Hawthorn was joined by colleagues from the Australian National University and the University of Sydney, and in the United States – the University of North Carolina, the University of Colorado and the Baltimore Space Telescope Research Institute.