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It's not a supernova. Nor is it a galaxy, or a black hole.
But they noticed something else — a point of light where there hadn't been one before.
Over the next three months, the object got brighter and brighter until it was 120 times its initial luminosity.
Then it slowly got dimmer again, at about the same rate, until by the end of the year it was gone.
Astronomers led by U.C. Berkeley astrophysics grad student Kyle Barbary put the light coming from it through a mass spectrometer to see what it was made of — but couldn't get signatures for any known elements.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Main steps of measuring with a mass spectrometer Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique for the determination of the elemental composition of a sample or molecule. It is also used for elucidating the chemical structures of molecules, such as peptides and other chemical compounds. The MS principle consists of ionizing chemical compounds to generate charged molecules or molecule fragments and measurement of their mass-to-charge ratios.
anything not showing up on a mass spectrometer or registering but registering nothing known wouldn't be light or matter.
Interferometry is the technique of diagnosing the properties of two or more lasers or waves by studying the pattern of interference created by their superposition. The instrument used to interfere the waves together is called an interferometer. Interferometry is an important investigative technique in the fields of astronomy, fiber optics, engineering metrology, optical metrology, oceanography, seismology, quantum mechanics, plasma physics, and remote sensing.
Hypernova (pl. hypernovae) refers to an exceptionally large star that collapses at the end of its lifespan—for example, a collapsar, or a large supernova. Until the 1990s, it referred specifically to an explosion with an energy of over 100 supernovae (1046 joules); such explosions were proposed to explain the origin of exceptionally bright gamma ray bursts. An extensive sky search found several apparent hypernova remnants, but too few to support the hypothesis.
After the 1990s, the term came to be used to describe the supernovae of the most massive stars, the hypergiants, which have masses from 100 to 150 times that of the Sun. Decaying 56Ni, a short-lived isotope of nickel, is believed to provide much of a hypernova's light.
The radiation output of a nearby hypernova could cause serious harm to Earth, but no hypergiants have been located near Earth. It is conjectured that a hypernova may have caused a mass extinction on Earth 440 million years ago.