Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Hubble Spots Star Explosion Astronomers Can't Explain 154

schwit1 writes: The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the explosion of a star that does not fit into any theory for stellar evolution. "The exploding star, which was seen in the constellation Eridanus, faded over two weeks — much too rapidly to qualify as a supernova. The outburst was also about ten times fainter than most supernovae, explosions that destroy some or all of a star. But it was about 100 times brighter than an ordinary nova, which is a type of surface explosion that leaves a star intact. 'The combination of properties is puzzling,' says Mario Livio, an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. 'I thought about a number of possibilities, but each of them fails' to account for all characteristics of the outburst, he adds." We can put this discovery on the bottom of a very long list of similar discoveries by Hubble, which this week is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its launch.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hubble Spots Star Explosion Astronomers Can't Explain

Comments Filter:
  • by CaptQuark ( 2706165 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @03:03AM (#49534531)
    It just means there are more things in space that we don't fully understand yet. But every discovery adds knowledge so we can understand it better.

    • A new type of star !
    • Exactly... astonomers love objects like this because that is a chance to learn something new.
    • i think it just means we need to stop all broadcasts immediately, and pray that the star eater hasn't noticed us yet.

    • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

      It just means there are more things in space that we don't fully understand yet. But every discovery adds knowledge so we can understand it better.

      Really, what objects in space do we fully understand? (I'm not being sarcastic!)

      We don't even fully understand the earth yet, and we can perform direct measurements on it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Probably some long-forgotten interstellar war.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      My first thought was "death star".

      • Re: War (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 23, 2015 @04:12AM (#49534747)

        My first thought was "death star".

        Mine too. And from TFA:

        The light that Hubble recorded from the newly found outburst left its distant home galaxy 7.8 billion years ago.

        So it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

      • Or, due to a strange quirk in the space-time continuum, we are actually looking at a future version of our own planet exploding. Don't worry about paradoxes ripping the universe apart, though. The fact that we can see it, means that there's no way to avoid it so there won't be a contradiction. Moving right along.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      A fleet of the latest X- and Y-Wing fighters - and one old freighter - successfully destroy the new Imperial Death Star.

      Damn Rebel scum.

      • by Whiteox ( 919863 )

        I'm pretty sure it was the Shadows. The Vorlons didn't get there in time.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )
          The Shadows sap all life energy with their traditional doomsday weapons. It's the Vorlons who blow things up.
    • Re:War (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rob Riggs ( 6418 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @07:17AM (#49535213) Homepage Journal

      Probably some long-forgotten interstellar war.

      Nothing that exciting. Just a Vogon constructor fleet doing their job. They posted the notice. Nobody could be bothered to read it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In a galaxy far, far away, Princess Leia turned her head away while Darth Vader took out his anger at the old empire for taking away his hot grits.

  • Can't remember where I parked my star class death star..... Did I go on a bender last night.... time to lay off the sauce.

  • by AmIAnAi ( 975049 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @03:23AM (#49534597)
    Just saying, maybe it's not a natural event.
  • Its the fallout from when Scientists on the planet Zergoblott 3 restarted their new collider, apparantly quite common throughout the universe once you know what to look for.
  • It's obvious. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jtownatpunk.net ( 245670 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @03:34AM (#49534629)

    A wizard did it.

    • I find it hilarious yet bewildering that, after having to dig through a bajillion bad sci-fi jokes about the star, the one person who says 'wizard' gets modded troll.

      What do people have against wizards?

  • It IS actually A long time ago in a galaxy far away
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It IS actually
      A long time ago
      in a galaxy far away

      Now. You're looking at now, sir. Everything that happens now, is happening now. We passed then. Just now. We're at now, now.

  • Then it must have been a mininova.

  • I'm not saying I didn't do this. I just have trouble controlling my temper sometimes. Bad day at work, OK?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps this is the first time we record a Leviathan entering on Starbust. Astrobiologists should analise this.

  • by ianezz ( 31449 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @04:18AM (#49534763) Homepage
    It's just the the Dark Star [youtube.com] hippies blowing up unstable stars for fun & profit.
  • by Derling Whirvish ( 636322 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @04:27AM (#49534785) Journal
    It's Praxis of course. Time to make a peace treaty?
  • Time to plan for endless Christmas.
  • What about distance? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by little1973 ( 467075 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @04:31AM (#49534793)

    The host galaxy is quite far from us. At these distances we can only rely on the red shift which I always thought not to be completely accurate.

    So, if that galaxy is a little bit closer to us then there may not be any mystery here.

  • I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

  • by pslytely psycho ( 1699190 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @04:52AM (#49534849) Journal
    ...came the Lexx, to our dark universe of evil and depravity, destroying the twin worlds of Fire and Water.
  • The Monks (Score:4, Informative)

    by nicolaiplum ( 169077 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @04:57AM (#49534857)

    It is the remains of a star system whose inhabitants were unwilling to build laser cannons for The Monks (see "The Fourth Profession" by Larry Niven).

  • It's quite simple. First, the star underwent a small blast, too small to be detected, in which it expelled a layer of gas. That gas formed a cloud around the star. Then, there was an ordinary blast. What we saw was the gas cloud being illuminated by the ordinary blast.
    • Except that the two blasts were in different locations. It is possible that it was path time differences between two lensed images.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Supernova, ordinary nova, and inbetween the newly discovered bossa-nova.

    Why do I have to explain everything every time?

  • What if the star was a normal supernovae but had a companion black hole? Wouldn't that make the light fade prematurely?
  • by ecloud ( 3022 )

    It must have been a champagne supernova in the sky.

  • I looked at the picture given in TFA and it looks to me that the host galaxy of this mysterious non-nova, non-supernova explosion is a background galaxy, lensed by the foreground cluster. It does not look like a member of this foreground cluster.

    I would say, distance estimates for such background galaxies are not particularly easy to make.

  • by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @08:31AM (#49535563)

    The thing that struck me about those pics, was the distance the star moved from Jan 2014 to Aug 2014. It appeared to cover roughly 5-10% of the outer diameter of the host galaxy (although the star could be very well be deeper inside the galaxy). The Solar System takes about 226 million years to orbit the Milky Way. This thing appears to orbit at 13 years!

    That makes me think their preliminary analysis of these being two separate events is correct. Although, I am not an astrophysicist, so what do I know?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, it's not a moving object. The idea is we could be seeing the same event twice. The image of the galaxy is so distorted by the gravity of foreground objects, that the light from the explosion reaches us along two different paths. One of them is a little longer, so we see a "replay" of the event a little later.

  • Obviously Soren has something to do with it...

  • by koan ( 80826 )

    There's a war out there...

  • I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I feared something terrible has happened, but dismissed it as the burrito I had for lunch at the Taco Bell. It does really look like some planet *was* destroyed. mm.. Should learn to trust the Force more.
  • This is more a limitation of the researcher than of the science. This type of Short duration hyperbright nova is not unknown and elsewhere in the literature there are several theories as to their Natural origins. They have been a few detected over the last 50 years but because of their rarity a comprehensive analysis is still wanting.

    So this is not a NEW HUBBLE DISCOVERY, more a OH NICE! you saw one too.

  • Someone lost an interstellar war in a big way.

    Considering that this happened far, far away, and therefore long, long ago; I think we all know who was responsible. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki... [wikia.com]

  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @10:47AM (#49536885)
    A big boom, but not quite big enough to destroy the star? Perhaps the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator just got misdirected to the wrong location?
  • Based on the most prominent modern science, it was either dark matter that caused the unusual result or the aliens that built the pyramids accidentally crashed their spaceship into the star, causing a mini-nova.
  • A British voice was heard saying...

    "And here's where he lives..." (some sort of bang)
    "And here's his neighbor..." (bang again)
    "And here's his neighbor's summer home..." (bang and some thumps)
    "And here's the town by the beach - tropical island - the whole planet he lived on!"

    The bangs became curiously long and bass-level, and the voice broke off into maniacal cackling.

  • The deathstar exploded

  • Maybe it was a Deathstar
  • There was always something fishy about those ruins.

  • ...is that you get to speculate more wildly. Suppose two stars that are not yet (or never could be) able to supernova, smacked into each other at some very impressive clip. Their cores interact and there is briefly a mass in a state for a supernova...which is blown apart in the early seconds of the supernova because uniquely, the relevant core material is asymmetric and the two lobes are separated.

    Is that possible? Is it gibberish? I don't know, because I never studied astronomy except by watching, we

  • A "not quite super nova"

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp