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Robert Roy Britt
Astronomers have detected a new type of cosmic outburst that they can't yet explain. The event was very close to our galaxy, they said.
The eruption might portend an even brighter event to come, a Supernova!
It was spotted by
NASA's Swift telescope and is being monitored by other telescopes around the world as scientists wait to see what will happen.
Neil Gehrels, principal investigator for the Swift mission at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, called the event "totally new, totally unexpected."
If the eruption indeed precedes a supernova, then it would reach peak brightness in about a week, scientists said.
The event, detected Feb. 18, looks something like a gamma-ray burst (GRB), scientists said. But it is much closer—about 440 million light-years away—than others. And it lasted about 33 minutes. Most GRBs are billions of light-years away and last less than a second or just a few seconds.
Space - Brightest Galactic Flash Ever Detected Hits Earth
NASA Detects 'Totally New' Mystery Explosion Nearby
Italian researchers using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile found signs in the event's optical afterglow that it may become a supernova. The scenario outlined by some researchers is that a very massive star has collapsed into a black hole and then exploded.
If the event is indeed a supernova in the making, scientists may get the first look at one unfolding from start to finish.
Experienced backyard astronomers can see the explosion with a telescope by using these coordinates: RA: 03:21:39.71 Dec: +16:52:02.6
The left image was taken before the explosion. In the right image, afterward, the pinpoint of light is clearly visible. Credit: SDSS (left); NASA/Swift/UVOT (right)
Originally posted by junglejake
Since the object is 440 million light-years away, this means the event took place 440 million light-years ago, since the light is just reaching us now. When the light got here and we were able to observe it, so did any radiation that would hit the planet.
Originally posted by Beachcoma
What I'm saying is it's possible.
Originally posted by LazarusTheLong
[the first of the radiation effects hit when the light does...