In 2006, astronomers spotted the telltale sign of a supernova detonating in the galaxy NGC 1260, located about 240 million light-years away in the constellation of Perseus. As telescopes around the world turned their collective light-gathering power on the expanding explosion designated as SN 2006gy, they realized they were seeing something very unusual.
This clearly wasn’t a regular supernova. It grew to be 100 times brighter than the typical stellar explosion and lasted much much longer.
More than a decade after that cosmic explosion, astronomers finally think they know what series of events led to the release of this much energy, now called a superluminous supernova. A red giant ate a white dwarf. An event so rare it probably accounts for only 1 in 1000 supernovae.
Audio Podcast version:
Weekly email newsletter:
Weekly Space Hangout:
Support us at https://www.patreon.com/universetoday
More stories at https://www.universetoday.com/
Instagram - https://instagram.com/universetoday
Team: Fraser Cain - @fcain / [email protected]
Karla Thompson - @karlaii / https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEItkORQYd4Wf0TpgYI_1fw
Chad Weber - [email protected]