Scientists Mystified By Deep Space Explosion 100 Times Brighter Than A Supernova

Thursday, 28 June 2018 - 11:14AM
Space
NASA
Astrophysics
Thursday, 28 June 2018 - 11:14AM
Scientists Mystified By Deep Space Explosion 100 Times Brighter Than A Supernova
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Image Credit: NASA

There is something strange happening in space that astronomers admit that they can not explain. According to Tech Times, at least 18 telescopes around the world recorded an explosion 200 million light years away that makes a supernova look like a firecracker.

The mysterious explosion was first spotted by the ATLAS telescopes at the Keck Observatory in Hawai'i when it came out of nowhere on June 17. An automatic naming system gave it the designation AT2018cow, which led scientists to coin the nickname "The Cow." Data showed that the bright light was not there two days prior, which sets it apart from supernovas that take weeks to reach their full brightness. Supernovas are the reigning kings of space explosions when it comes to light and power, but scientists have estimated that The Cow is between 10 and 100 times brighter. 



"It really just appeared out of nowhere," said ATLAS astronomer Kate Maguire. "There are other objects that have been discovered that are as fast, but the fastness and the brightness, that's quite unusual." Chinese astronomers used spectroscopic analyses to confirm that the explosion occurred outside of the Milky Way over in the galaxy CGCG 137-068. There are theories that The Cow could be a rare breed of supernova called a Type1c, but those theories have not been tested. Gravitational waves that may have been produced by the explosion would teach astronomers more about the event, but unfortunately the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors in Louisiana and Washington are out of commission for scheduled upgrades.

ATLAS survey lead scientist Stephen Smartt told The Washington Post that it will be months before the AT2018cow observations are published and that there is more research to be done.

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"People are just putting out their data, and everyone does realize the data look quite strange."
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