Scientists discover the brightest star explosion ever This image provided by The Kavli Foundation on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 shows an artist’s impression of the superluminous supernova ASASSN-15lh as it would appear from an exoplanet located about 10,000 light-years away in the host galaxy of the supernova. (Jin Ma/Beijing Planetarium/The Kavli Foundation via AP/Thinkstock)
Scientists discover the brightest star explosion ever
Lexile

Astronomers have discovered the brightest star explosion ever, a super supernova that easily outshines our entire Milky Way.
 
An international team revealed, "the most powerful supernova observed in human history" in the latest Science journal. The astronomers used a network of telescopes around the world to spot the record-breaking supernova last year.
 
Super luminous supernovas -- extra bright stellar explosions -- are believed to be rare and the newly discovered supernova is especially rare: It is more than twice as luminous as any supernova ever observed.
 
At its peak intensity, it is believed to be 20 times more luminous than the entire Milky Way, and some estimates put it at 50 times brighter.
 
And try this statistic on for size: It is 570 billion times brighter at its peak than our sun.
 
Lead author Subo Dong of China's Peking University said that when he learned the magnitude of the discovery last summer, he was "too excited to sleep the rest of the night." Fellow researcher Benjamin Shappee of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, California, didn't believe the results at first, which seemed "surreal."
 
"Discoveries like this are the reason I am an astronomer," Shappee said in an email. "Nature is extremely clever and it is often more imaginative than we can be."
 
Labeled ASASSN-15lh for the All-Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae and pronounced "assassin," the mega blast is located in a galaxy perhaps 3.8 billion light-years away, although the precise galaxy is unknown. There are other puzzles as well.
 
"The explosion's mechanism and power source remain shrouded in mystery because all known theories meet serious challenges in explaining the immense amount of energy ASASSN-15lh has radiated," Dong said in a statement.
 
The next step for scientists is to figure out its incredible power source. Other super supernovas, like this one, could be out there, and more observatories are on the case, including some NASA spacecraft. The Hubble Space Telescope will be pressed into service this year as well.
 
Dong said ASASSN-15lh "may lead to new thinking and new observations of the whole class of super luminous supernova."

Filed Under:  
Assigned 39 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is the source of the explosion a mystery?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (12)
  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    1/21/2016 - 04:56 p.m.

    Space is quite hard for me to wrap my head around. Knowing that things are happening out there that nobody knows about makes me a bit terrified. I wish to someday be able to know what is outside our galaxy.

  • erino-6-bar
    1/21/2016 - 10:30 p.m.

    The source of the explosion remains a mystery because all theories have been proved false. Dong was even quoted as saying "The explosion's mechanism and power source remain shrouded in mystery because all known theories meet serious challenges in explaining the immense amount of energy ASASSN-15lh has radiated." This statement shows that every theory for a power source of the explosion has met "serious troubles" meaning that it is highly unlikely for it to be true.

    I liked this article because I am interested in space and this was over twice as bright as any star explosion previously noted.

  • julianc-bag
    1/25/2016 - 06:36 p.m.

    The source of the explosion is a mystery because the people at NASA can't find a reason why that star would explode.

  • charlesh-war
    1/27/2016 - 08:44 a.m.

    Wow cool i guess new stuff like this is always cool to find for the astronomers

  • jennaew-pay
    1/27/2016 - 11:06 a.m.

    It is fasinating where we are in technology and how far we've gotten. If we didn't have this technology would we have learned this?

  • jordanv-pay
    1/27/2016 - 12:16 p.m.

    The limited technological devices that are required to even see this supernova are so advanced and hard to develop that to advance any further to discover the actual cause of the supernova would take decades.

  • lukeg-
    1/27/2016 - 12:29 p.m.

    The star exploded without any knowledge of the mechanism. Every theory we have is false, the only way we can truly understand the mechanism of the explosion is when we have a heat resistant shuttle. A shuttle that can travel the speed of light, and of course, have another supernovae. Until we can prove a theory correct, it will remain a mystery. Dong quoted "The explosions mechanism and power source remain shrouded in mystery because all known theories meet serious challenges in explaining the immense amount of energy ASASSN-15lh has radiated.


    I loved this article because I love space and it was the brightest explosion in history

  • chris25-war
    1/27/2016 - 01:02 p.m.

    The fact that astronomers where able to see this explosion that was 3.8 billion like years away in a different galaxy is amazing! It goes to show how far technology has come since the first telescope was invented! At it's peak it's 570 billion times brighter than our own sun. This could go to prove that maybe, just maybe, there is in fact another earth out there with other people looking into our galaxy thinking that our sun is brighter than theirs.

  • laurenc-bag
    1/27/2016 - 05:51 p.m.

    The source of the explosion is a mystery because all other theories had to have been proved, and had an immense amount of research done as well as experiments and observations.

  • laurenc-bag
    1/27/2016 - 05:54 p.m.

    The source of the explosion is a mystery because all theories have to have been proved. It would also take an immense amount of research and experiments as well as observations. This is basically a summary of what Dong said, "The explosion's mechanism and power source remain shrouded in mystery because all known theories meet serious challenges..."

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT