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Space

Distant Supernova Is the Most Powerful Ever Detected (osu.edu) 75

schwit1 writes: Newly published research into a supernova under observation since June has found it to be the most powerful known to modern science. "This one, called ASASSN-15lh, is about 3.8 billion light years away, 200 times more powerful than most supernovas, and twice as bright as the previous record holder. It shines 20 times brighter than the combined output of the Milky Way's 100 billion stars, and in the last six months, it has spewed as much energy as the sun would in 10 lifetimes, says Krzysztof Stanek of the Ohio State University, co-principal investigator of the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) network that spotted the explosion." The explosion doesn't fit well with current theories of supernova energy release, so astronomers are working to figure out its unusual mechanics.
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Distant Supernova Is the Most Powerful Ever Detected

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's interesting that the burst was missing the Hydrogen and Helium spectral bands. This is perhaps the most monitored "major" cosmological event near enough to see in realtime.

    • Maybe fusion switched to fission?

    • 3.8 billion years ago it was real time. in another 3.8 billion years we will know what it looks like today.
      I'd put that in my calendar but I don't know if I should trust Google with the information...
      The event is so unusual, it makes me wonder if someone 3.8 billion light years away said "Hey, what would happen if we fire the Death Star at that Super Nova over there?"

      In any event, the Gamma Ray data will hopefully have some clues for us.
  • I'm not (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 17, 2016 @12:16AM (#51316669)

    I'm not saying that it's aliens... But it's aliens.

  • it's two black holes merging

    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      So the merging black holes gone from suck to blow?
      • by oddtodd ( 125924 )

        Now that I think about it, a supernova is just a failed black hole, no?
        Maybe this was a successful one.

        • by creimer ( 824291 )

          Now that I think about it, a supernova is just a failed black hole, no?

          When a star runs out of fuel, it explodes as a supernova. Sometimes the supernova collapses to become a neutron star or a pulsar. A large star that goes supernova might collapse into a small black hole.

          As for my original comment, it was a reference to Spaceballs.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXOAc5yt218 [youtube.com]

          • by dryeo ( 100693 )

            Only true for large stars. The Sun for example will not explode but rather end up as a white dwarf slowly cooling down until eventually it is dark.

            • by creimer ( 824291 )

              Interesting. A white dwarf that goes dark becomes a black dwarf, which currently none exist in the universe as it takes a quadrillion years to happen. The oldest white dwarf stars are about 12 billion years old.

  • This could be a magnetar or this could be an event that would prompt the Pierson's Puppeteers to start a massive migration.

    • Some twit marked this 'redundant'? He must have simply seen the word "magnetar" and thought you were repeating the article. Never even heard of the puppeteers, I bet.

      Damn illiterate kids nowadays.

      • No, it's not that, there are people here who make it a point to mod my comments down to prevent me from being able to make too many comments. As long as most of my comments are pushed down, I cannot effectively participate in discussions, since the number of comments is limited to two or three a day.

  • From TFP: In the 4 months since first detection, ASASSN-15lh radiated (1.1 +/- 0.2) * 10^52 ergs.

    If my math is right, that's 10^38 Joules/sec. or 10^35 kWh.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      From TFP: In the 4 months since first detection, ASASSN-15lh radiated (1.1 +/- 0.2) * 10^52 ergs. If my math is right, that's 10^38 Joules/sec. or 10^35 kWh.

      If you think that's bad, you should see the power bill...

      • Re:Holy. Shit. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @03:05AM (#51316901)

        If you think that's bad, you should see the power bill

        By my reckoning, at $0.15 per kWh, that would come to $15,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or roughly 800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times the US national debt. Perhaps, they would allow you to pay this off in installments.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why so much fuss? Even our good-old SN1987A radiated 10^53 ergs!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually all they know is that it radiated 3 * 10^47 ergs / degree^2 in *some* direction which happens to contain the Earth. Extrapolating that figure to the whole sphere might be wrong, and could explain the mystery.

  • by The Evil Atheist ( 2484676 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @01:13AM (#51316775) Homepage
    Their version of Donald Trump got elected.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Black Parrot ( 19622 )

      I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if billions of heads just exploded.

    • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

      That's a pretty big bag of hot air. Just imagine if their version of Hilary made it! She's got at least twice the hot air after doing so much sucking over the years.

  • At only 3.8 billion miles away, that will hit us in about 5 years, given the speed of light. It looks like the Mayans were right afterall in their prediction of the End of the World. They were just off by five years or so because they had not foreseen the change from the Praetorian calendar to the Julienne calendar in 1066 and they had not accurately computed the speed of light using their Stonehedge calculators.

    It's clearly time to sell all our stocks and buy gold to move into a fallout shelter and fo
    • by oddtodd ( 125924 )

      >> Why isn't the mainstream media reporting on this!!!

      Because even they know the difference between light years and miles.

      • Because even they know the difference between light years and miles.

        But can they do the Kessel run in 12 parsecs?

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          But can they do the Kessel run in 12 parsecs?

          Depends on how smart the freighter's GPS (Galactic Positioning System) is at finding shortcuts.

    • Well, any globes in the vicinity of that supernova probably did get pretty darn warm... at least for a while.

  • I thought a certain amount of photons in a certain amount of space could by itself collapse into a black hole or tear space or morph into higher wavelength EM or something or other. Like something bad. What are the odds that this did something like that?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You've been reading too many comics.

      • No, he's right. I saw it on an episode of Star Trek the Nerd Generation. Our hero Wesley saved the universe again. Now we just have to build the same quark accelerator weapons array so we can attach the haptic matrix! It's our only shot at defeating it.

  • Remember that time you put too much air in that baloon? Then again, in a galaxy, far, far awy ...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If it is too bright and too powerful to be a supernova then logic would seem to say that it isn't a supernova.

    Question is, what could it be if it isn't one?

    • The radiation profile and basic light curve over time fit roughly what is expected for this type of supernova but it is much more luminous than expected. It isn't like they are just declaring any suddenly luminous object to be a supernova.
    • A supernova which is much closer than the scientists believe it is.
  • How much energy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MiniMike ( 234881 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @10:19AM (#51317775)

    It shines 20 times brighter than the combined output of the Milky Way's 100 billion stars, and in the last six months, it has spewed as much energy as the sun would in 10 lifetimes

    Seriously, how about some meaningful units we can comprehend here? How many times the energy usage of the Library of Congress is this?

  • Have astronomical theories ever been proven true once reality is looked at?

  • The article in Newscientist reads somewhat like a tabloid. In one sentence they say "It might be a different exotic object called a magnetar" and in the very next sentence they write "But ASASSN-15lh is more powerful than magnetars can possibly become". Why not just suggest it is MAGIC.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN

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