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. It is 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. It was observed last year.
 
Super luminous supernovas -- extra bright stellar explosions -- are believed to be rare. 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. 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. He said they 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. 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. More observatories are on the case. They include 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 315 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is the source of the explosion a mystery?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (144)
  • summerc-1-bar
    1/20/2016 - 06:29 p.m.

    The source of the explosion a mystery because, as Dong said in paragraph 9, "...all known theories meet serious challenges in explaining the immense amount of energy ASASSN-15lh has radiated." Also, in paragraph 11, Dong says, "[ASASSN-15lh] may lead to new thinking and new observations of the whole class of super luminous supernova."
    I think its cool how astronomers discover all these supernovas and get to studied them.

  • taylorp-1-bar
    1/20/2016 - 08:07 p.m.

    The source of the explosion is a mystery because of the complex theories that it takes to find the source. On paragraph 9 it states, " 'The explosion's mechanism and power source remain shrouded in mystery because all known theroies meet serious challenges in explains the immense amount of energy ASASSN-15Ih has radiated,' " Due to these unknown power sources, the scientists aren't able to find the source. I enjoyed this article because space has always fascinated me.

  • andrew-1-bar
    1/20/2016 - 08:14 p.m.

    The supernova explosion was extremely luminous. It was 20 times brighter the milky way and 570 billion times brighter at its peak than our sun. The Super luminous supernovas are extremely rare and happened 3.8 billion light years away in a galaxy that is still unknown.

  • raymunda-4-bar
    1/20/2016 - 09:12 p.m.

    The source of the explosion is a mystery because theories we have, could not explain the immense power of the explosion. On paragraph 9, Dong, author of China's Peking University, stated that, "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 means that our theories that we came up with explosions does not support the evidence of the massive explosion.
    This article seems interesting because I am very interested of supernovas and one that big, blows my mind away. What shocked me the most is that why can't the naked eye see the bright explosion even though it was supposed to be the brightest explosion ever.

  • williamb-4-bar
    1/20/2016 - 11:00 p.m.

    The source of the explosion is a mystery because it happenend farther than our universe.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    1/20/2016 - 11:48 p.m.

    The scientists might have been able to discover the brightest star explosion that everything in the universe was able to experience after they were able to discover the brightest supernova that scientists had ever discovered. The supernova might have been able to be found by something that the scientists might have been able to just quickly discover about the brightest supernova in the whole universe. People might have been able to hear about what scientists had discovered about the brightest supernova of all of the supernovas that had happened in other milky way galaxy. Scientists might have been able to discover the brightest supernova by using something that the scientists might have been able to be discovering the brightest supernova in the milky way galaxy.
    Critical Thinking Question: Why is the source of the explosion a mystery?
    Answer: Because the source of the explosion is still a mystery because scientists don't know where the the brightest explosion is located at.

  • chasew-bly
    1/21/2016 - 11:09 a.m.

    This is awesome.I wish I could have seen it.

  • averyc-bly
    1/21/2016 - 11:09 a.m.

    That is very interesting, and it will definitely lead to other finds in our history!

  • jeffreyf-bly
    1/21/2016 - 11:17 a.m.

    I think that it is amazing that found this!!! I would love to see things like this when I grow up.

  • zacharym-bly
    1/21/2016 - 11:18 a.m.

    Maybe because it was so far away. We can't find out what caused it because our telescopes aren't that advanced.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT