Tries to decode the secrets of space

Tries to decode the secrets of space

Giorgos Leloudas is an astronomer, a postdoc at the Experimental Astrophysics group at the Weizmann Institute of Science and a guest researcher at Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

Giorgos Leloudas is from Athens. He graduated in 2001 from the Department of Physics, University of Athens and obtained his PhD at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He has also worked at the Oskar Klein Centre, where he was supported by a grant from the Swedish Research Council, and he has also been a Carlsberg Fellow.

In 2016, an international team led by Giorgos Leloudas discovered the death of a massive star that came too close to a supermassive black hole. The death of the star, which was destroyed from the black hole, was one of the most spectacular cosmic events that have ever been seen in a distant galaxy about 4 billion light-years from Earth. This event is called ASASSΝ-15lh, and when it was detected in 2015, it was believed that it was the explosion of an extremely massive star at the end of its life. It was recorded as the brightest supernova ever — and categorised as a superluminous supernova. It was twice as bright as the previous record holder, and at its peak was 20 times brighter than the total light output of the entire Milky Way.

However, Giorgos Leloudas and his team suggested another explanation that ASASSN- 15lh probably was caused by a rapidly spinning supermassive black hole, as it destroyed a low-mass star that approached too close. Their paper was published by “Nature Astronomy”. The team based their new conclusions on observations from a selection of telescopes, both on the ground and in space. Among them was the Very Large Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, the New Technology Telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

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