If there's one thing we know for sure about our universe, it's that we actually know relatively little about it. Every year, astronomers discover new objects and phenomena; sometimes these are quite close to Earth, such as a surprising asteroid that goes whizzing by, and other times they are as distant as anything we've ever observed in our few centuries of peering starward.
In April 2022, astronomers made headlines for detecting a phenomenon that occurred roughly 5 billion years ago and traveled some 36 thousand billion billion miles (58 thousand billion billion kilometers) to reach the telescopes that measured it, according to a statement by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), based in Perth, Australia.
The record-breaking object observed by the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa was named "Nkalakatha" (pronounced ng-kuh-la-kuh-tah) — an isiZulu word meaning “big boss.” Best of all, the official name for these phenomena is really cool as well: megamaser.
No, it's not a super villain; though it certainly sounds like one. Instead, megamasers are a fascinating fact of life in the universe.