back to article Boffins baffled by record-smashing supernova that shouldn't exist

Supernovae are nothing new in the universe, but scientists have spotted the largest yet seen, some 200 times as bright as anything recorded previously. The explosion – dubbed ASASSN-15lh after the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae telescopes in Chile that first found the big bang in June last year – was 570 billion times …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Arthur C Clarke speculated that some supernovae could be the failed attempts by civilization to tap into the zero-point energy. We may never know if ASASSN-15lh was a natural event or just someone pressing the wrong button"

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Some supernovae may well be just the next civilisation ramping up the voltage on their CERN. Theoretical Physicists should be strictly supervised in the playground, not allowed to run amok ;)

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Alien

      If Clarke were right, these things would be unobservable because the expanding bubble of vacuum decaying to a lower-energy state (thus liberating free energy while changing subatomic physics to something totally unknown) will be following in the wake of of the expanding bubble of light at a picosecond interval. You will never even know what popped your Standard Model.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        while changing subatomic physics to something totally unknown

        Not totally unknown. For example, thanks to Coleman and de Luccia, we know it would be joyless.

        Personally, I think this supernova was due to someone crossing the streams. I mean, if citing some Clarke fantasy suggestion counts as science writing, surely that's allowed too.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Either that or the next civilization opening a Pandora's box

      One way to explain the fact that we have not run across sentient life is that there is a pandora's box waiting for it somewhere out there.

      It may be someone cranking the CERN equivalent too much. It also may be (and more likely) some doing the galactic equivalent of a suicide bomb as described here:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1447224094/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=569136327&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1447224108&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=1RTKPVQRPN6RF1VKS91W

    3. Dan Wilkie

      Uh...it's probably not a problem...probably...but I'm showing a small discrepancy in...well, no, it's well within acceptable bounds again. Sustaining sequence.

      Shutting down. Attempting shut down. It's not...it's-it's not...it's not shutting down...it's not...

      Gordon! Get away from the beams!

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        "This is crazy in a box with a side order of fries"

  2. DougS Silver badge

    Aptly named, since some life forms probably died from it

    Did they choose the letters in ASASSN-15lh or was that a happy coincidence?

    1. Jedit

      "Did they choose the letters in ASASSN-15lh or was that a happy coincidence?"

      I'd wager money it's a backronym.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Blofeld's Cat
    Coat

    Hmm...

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

    "I told you we should have put a grill over that exhaust port..."

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Alien

    the explosion occurred 3.8 billion light years away

    In a rescaled picture, if Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 mm away, that would be a whooping 3.8m away.

    There is a LOT of Galaxies and Galaxy Filaments between us and that. Definitely a challenge for any Space Knights looking for a Space Holy Grail.

  6. channel extended
    Happy

    Just an upgrade!

    Some one went for the MS Win 10 upgrade in a big way!!

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    > Spectral outputs from the explosion revealed materials signatures that have never been spotted before in a supernova

    That's kind of scary. On the good side, I have a new book to read! Thanks.

  8. Mike Shepherd

    "a superluminous supernovae" (sic)

    I mourn the passing of the classical education.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: "a superluminous supernovae" (sic)

      Latin was hell though.

      I never got what Cicero was effing talking about.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: "a superluminous supernovae" (sic)

        I was more impressed by his slave's note-taking ability.

  9. LB45
    Mushroom

    It's the funny looking one over by the de-phaser plasma laser fire control button.

    Trust me, Xerzizo, I've been doing this for years. Just push it and let's go to lunch.

  10. D-Coder

    Fixed headline

    "BOFFINS BAFFLED BY BOGGLINGLY BIG BRIGHT BLAST"

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Fixed headline

      "BRAIN-BOGGLINGLY", shurely...?

      1. Dr Who

        Re: Fixed headline

        "BRIAIN-BOGGLINGLY" even

  11. phil dude
    Pint

    exponents....

    So this object is 5.7x1011 times brighter than the Sun?

    And this object is 3.8x109 light years away.

    Doesn't it make you feel humanity is so very small...?.

    P.

    1. Timbo

      Re: exponents....

      "Doesn't it make you feel humanity is so very small...?."

      Without getting too religious....

      oh, alright then....

      At the risk of upsetting some people...you'd have thought if God was really THAT great, he'd have created a bigger world for us to reside on, with far more raw materials than we could ever need, in a "Solar System" populated with a bigger Sun and more planets...

      Instead, we've got a Sun which always seems to be smaller and less bright than any other "interesting star" that astronomers find. And we don't seem to have too many "interesting bodies" nearby either, aside for (probably) a Black Hole at the centre of our Galaxy.

      Some nice binary pulsars nearby would have been good....Stargazing Live announced a new one tonight, spinning at 30 times a second, weighing (approx) a thousand, million, million, million tons (IIRC)...but it's a long, long, long way away (in the constellation of Cygnus, apparently).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: exponents....

        Did you not listen to the mighty Dame Burnell: "count your fingers"...so it's a 1000, million, million, million, million errm tonnes ?

      2. DougS Silver badge

        Re: exponents....

        Who says we're God's favorite? If we have the 12,302,234,241st best planet in terms of resources and 23,234,599,914th brightest star, maybe we're pretty far down the list. The planet where Exotica Gallumbits lives would likely be a lot higher on the list, because that's where God goes on the 7th day to rest after he makes a new world!

        1. phil dude
          Boffin

          Re: exponents....

          My point is (was...and thanks for the Stargazing reference!!!), the universe is sooooo big (insert HH quote here).

          Evolution is contested by folks who find truth in dusty texts.

          But the fact of the matter is that evolution is *mandatory*. Just look around our planet or any in the heavens.

          The second law of thermodynamics makes impossible to remain unchanged in this universe. Change is the only thing that is constant.

          So there you have it, exponents.

          One of the most amazing ways of knowing your place in the universe.

          P.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: exponents....

          Shirley you mean Eccentrica ? Can't remember now.

          1. dajames Silver badge

            Re: exponents....

            Shirley you mean Eccentrica ? Can't remember now.

            Perhaps Eccentrica is Exotica's better-known sesqui-mamalian sister?

            ... but, yes, it was Eccentrica in HHG.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: exponents....

        "Instead, we've got a Sun which always seems to be smaller and less bright than any other "interesting star" that astronomers find. And we don't seem to have too many "interesting bodies" nearby either, aside for (probably) a Black Hole at the centre of our Galaxy."

        Having nothing "interesting" in the locale might be a requirement for a sustained evolving biosphere. Its been 700 million years since the advent of multi-celled life here, so roughly 1 billion years can be taken as the time needed for people to pop. That's plenty of time for bad stellar actors to act bad.

        The single-celled life before 700MYA was (and is) very tough, but us polycellers tend to wilt under high energy particle/photon assault. It's something about damage to emergent structures...

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Re: exponents....

        interesting = dangerous = potentially fatal

    2. Michael Thibault

      Re: exponents....

      Small, yes, but clever. And curious. The horizon has ample time and room to retreat.

    3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: exponents....

      So...can we have your liver, then?

  12. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Alien

    Awesome,

    Who wants all the answers when the questions are so much more interesting to investigate.

    I do suspect, however, that Marvin the Martin finally got his illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator working

  13. Youngone Silver badge
    Mushroom

    No H or He?

    Hang on, it's 3.8 billion light years away, meaning it's also 3.8 billion years old and there's no helium or hydrogen involved at all?

    That would rule out a star as the thing what went bang then surely?

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: No H or He?

      it's 3.8 billion light years away, meaning it's also 3.8 billion years old

      No. Just after the Big Bang, space expanded faster than the speed of light*. So it is younger than 3.8 billion years old.

      * Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum - but space didn't "travel" faster than the speed of light, it just expanded faster. A subtle distinction, and the reason why we can only see to the edge of the observable universe, as there as parts that, unless we perfect faster than light travel, we'll never see as the light will never reach us.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: No H or He?

        it's 3.8 billion light years away, meaning it's also 3.8 billion years old

        The part that we see is 3.8 billion years young than whatever is "now", or maybe a little bit less seeing how space expansion is accelerating, not sure about that.

      2. Maty

        Re: No H or He?

        'Space didn't "travel" faster than the speed of light, it just expanded faster.'

        Ah. thanks for clearing that up. Now when space was expanding faster than the speed of light, at what speed was the border between space and non-space moving?

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: No H or He?

          at what speed was the border between space and non-space moving?

          Are you trying to measure the velocity of something which may not have a time component?

          1. AC Wilson

            Re: No H or He?

            Thanks for pointing that out. I had trouble with that until I removed velocity from the expansion. I now picture it as a dark room- no universe. Turn on a light switch - Universe! Only faster...

        2. Steven Roper

          Re: No H or He?

          "...at what speed was the border between space and non-space moving?"

          There is no "border" between space and non-space, just as there is no "edge" of the Earth. This is the kind of weird shit where you have to try to get your head around higher dimensional spaces, so I'll try to explain in visual terms.

          Imagine that you are a 2-dimensional being, like those in Edwin Abbott's Flatland. To you, there is no such thing as "up" and "down"; these concepts simply don't exist in your worldview. Your entire universe consists only of "north-south" and "east-west."

          If your 2D universe is mapped onto the surface of a sphere or torus, it would eventually wrap around on itself. If you walked far enough in what seemed to you in all measurable ways to be a straight line, you would eventually return to your original position from the opposite direction in which you set out. It wouldn't matter which direction you chose - north, south, east or west - you would infallibly return from the other direction without ever apparently having changed direction - and without ever encountering any kind of border, edge or boundary.

          At the time of the Big Bang in your 2D universe, the sphere or torus would be very small, and you would walk around it and return to your origin in a very short time. But then suddenly the sphere expanded hugely, and that five-minute walk suddenly became a multi-billion-year light-speed hike. But there was no edge or border you could encounter when the universe was small, just as there is no edge or border to be found when it got large.

          But, you argue, the sphere does have a border - the limit of its surface. If you move along its radius, instead of its circumference, you've crossed an edge.

          Yes, you have. But to do that you had to travel in a direction that, for the 2D inhabitants of the surface of the sphere, simply does not exist except in certain abstract equations. No 2D denizen can ever point in that direction and say "we could go that way!" - because the only possible ways they can see to point to all lie along the circumference of the sphere. How do you explain what "up" and "down" are to beings that cannot understand or perceive those "directions?"

          Now expand this thinking into three-dimensional space - our universe. No matter what direction you fly in - north, south, east, west, up or down - if you keep going in a straight line, you will eventually return to where you started, from the opposite direction, without ever encountering any edge or border, no matter where you go or how hard you look. If there is a boundary or edge to space, it is in a higher dimension that we cannot point to or travel in. I could say to you, "you could go "hyperin" or "hyperout" - but what would those words mean to you? How do I point hyperin the way I can point north, east, or up, to direct you hyperout of the universe? Do the words hyperin and hyperout even make sense to you?

          At the time of the Big Bang, the universe was very small, so if you walked for five minutes in a straight line you end up back where you started. But then suddenly space expanded hugely, and that five-minute walk suddenly became a multi-billion-year light-speed hike. But there was no edge or border you could encounter when the universe was small, just as there is no edge or border to be found when got large.

          Hopefully that imagery will reveal to you the flaw in your question. :)

          1. kryptonaut
            Boffin

            Re: No H or He?

            Flatlander 1: Hey, what's up?

            Flatlander 2: It's an abstract concept in theoretical physics.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No H or He?

            Now expand this thinking into three-dimensional space - our universe. No matter what direction you fly in - north, south, east, west, up or down - if you keep going in a straight line, you will eventually return to where you started

            What persuades us of this? If it were correct, then surely light would have an "incoming from the opposite direction" component, subject to the right conditions?

            1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

              @LedSwinger

              Now expand this thinking into three-dimensional space - our universe. No matter what direction you fly in - north, south, east, west, up or down - if you keep going in a straight line, you will eventually return to where you started

              What persuades us of this? If it were correct, then surely light would have an "incoming from the opposite direction" component, subject to the right conditions?

              People have looked and nothing's been found. But there are plenty of reasons why we might not be able to measure it and the alternative is a universe that's infinite (in space).

              Like, blackholes, this is an area where General Relativity breaks down. The maths can't handle a finite edge: spacetime needs to be infinite or loop back on itself.

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
                Paris Hilton

                Re: @LedSwinger

                If the dimensions we exist in are expanding (therefore making the walk round to the back of your house the long way even longer) - how come we aren't getting bigger in proportion? Or do objects in space not obey the same laws?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @LedSwinger

                Like, blackholes, this is an area where General Relativity breaks down. The maths can't handle a finite edge: spacetime needs to be infinite or loop back on itself.

                Thank you for all serious responses.

                Treating this with the gravity it deserves, what happens if instead of a light beam, we send a cat + radiation source off in a straight line? Presumably we get half a dead cat back?

                1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

                  Re: @LedSwinger

                  >>Like, blackholes, this is an area where General Relativity breaks down. The maths can't handle a finite edge: spacetime needs to be infinite or loop back on itself.

                  Imagine a particle reaching the edge of the universe. If it stops dead or bounces back, there's no conservation of momentum. If it falls off the edge, there's no conservation of energy. That wasn't the way I was thinking about it, but it shows the problem.

                  >Treating this with the gravity it deserves, what happens if instead of a light beam, we send a cat + radiation source off in a straight line? Presumably we get half a dead cat back?

                  You get back a dead cat. Probably from natural causes. Possibly from cancer. Or perhaps with a note from God saying, "never blend quantum theory and general relativity".

            2. Steven Roper

              Re: No H or He?

              "..."incoming from the opposite direction" component, subject to the right conditions?"

              The model I've described is one possible model for the shape of the universe - a "closed" universe. Brewster's Angle Grinder above described another alternative - on "open" universe.

              The "closed" universe theory can stand because since space expanded faster than light, the "wrap-around" is more than the 13.8 billion light-years away that represents the maximum distance we can observe. The "hypersphere" or "hypertoroid" the universe is mapped onto, like the 2D space mapped on to the sphere or torus in my analogy, is so vast that light hasn't had time since the Big Bang to completely wrap around it yet.

              I can imagine a time, perhaps still billions of years hence, when future astronomers will eventually spot faint blue-shifted early-universe galaxies moving towards them, mirroring red-shifted early-universe galaxies on the opposite side of the sky.

              That, of course, will only eventually happen if the universe's expansion is constant or decelerating. At present it appears to be accelerating. If that trend continues, it will ultimately lead to an effect cosmologists call the Big Rip.

              In this scenario, the distance at which the expansion of space reaches the speed of light decreases over time, until our galaxy is all that remains in our universe because all other galaxies are moving away from us at light-speed, and therefore no longer in our relativistic frame of reference. As the distance to this "horizon" continues to decrease, our own galaxy becomes bigger than the visible universe, and stars in our own galaxy are moving away from us at light speed.

              Follow this down to its terrifying conclusion: Our solar system; Neptune, then Uranus, then Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Mercury, Venus, and the Moon all vanish from our space because the expansion is carrying them away from us at light speed. Finally, you and I are in different universes because England and America are expanding away from Australia and each other at light speed. In the last fraction of a second, your feet are moving away from your head at light speed, and finally the molecules, then atoms, then even subatomic particles in your body get ripped apart by the accelerating universal expansion.

              That would be an absolutely awesome way to pop your clogs. But even if it does happen, if the universe's expansion continues to accelerate, it won't be for many billions of years. Sadly that means I won't be around to enjoy buying the hyperspatial farm!

          3. Maty
            Pint

            Re: No H or He?

            Thanks for taking the time to explain. It did indeed help.

            Have one on me.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No H or He?

        So, what's hiding beyond the horizon?

        1. Steven Roper

          Re: No H or He?

          "So, what's hiding beyond the horizon?"

          More universe? Consider the stage of the Big Rip where England, America and Australia are all expanding away from each other at light speed. At this point, each exists in its own universe. I, sitting here in Australia, cannot see or communicate with anyone in England or America. From my perspective, you have simply ceased to exist. From your own perspective, Australia - and I - also no longer exists in your frame of reference.

          I think what you would see rapidly approaching you would be an "event horizon" - a sphere all around you, like a black hole turned inside out. As it shrinks around you, the walls of the room you are in recede from you, faster and faster, becoming fainter and fainter yet with time passing slower and slower. The clock on the wall, as it recedes from you, slows down and as the shrinking event horizon reaches it, stops. Beyond it, from your perspective, is nothing - because time has stopped and everything beyond it has become infinite in duration, width and mass, and of zero length - since this is what happens to anything travelling at light speed.

          Of course, at our scale this would all take place in such a minute fraction of a second that your nervous system wouldn't have time to process what was happening before it ceased to exist. But time dilation might work in your favour in those last few moments of life; perhaps the relativistic expansion of space might drag out the final moments to years or centuries.

          So, what lies beyond the horizon? Me? From your perspective, I have infinite mass, width and duration and zero length; from my perspective, it's you who are thus afflicted. Could our respective "universes" even be said to have any kind of existence with respect to each other?

          When we deal with the extremes of nature, with relativistic and quantum-mechanical phenomena, common sense goes out of the window. I don't have the maths to explain in better terms what happens or what lies "beyond the horizon"; only to know that just because I call it a "horizon" doesn't mean it is even an edge or boundary in the familiar sense we think of one. Like the horizon you see when you look over the sea from the beach, it has no real "location" or "distance", yet it presents an intangible limit beyond which you cannot see.

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: No H or He?

            I think what you would see rapidly approaching you would be an "event horizon" - a sphere all around you, like a black hole turned inside out. As it shrinks around you, the walls of the room you are in recede from you, faster and faster, becoming fainter and fainter yet with time passing slower and slower. The clock on the wall, as it recedes from you, slows down and as the shrinking event horizon reaches it, stops. Beyond it, from your perspective, is nothing - because time has stopped and everything beyond it has become infinite in duration, width and mass, and of zero length - since this is what happens to anything travelling at light speed.

            Material sourced for tonights bedtime story, thanks. Lets see how well they sleep after this one.

  14. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    And hence it is proved that science doesn't work after all and evolution and global warming are lies perpetrated by heathens and liberals.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Bah!

      Did you drop this? ----->

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Did you drop this?

        Not me. I never use 'em. I don't think anyone should.

        But eight out of ten people apparently can't tell the difference without them. Makes me wonder if we don't need to broaden the compulsory syllabus in our Computer Science degree courses.

  15. jonnycando

    Of course

    This all happened in the past and now there is probably nothing or something very different in that precise location.

  16. jonfr

    3,8 billion years ago is a long time ago

    This did happen really long time ago, around 3,8 billion years ago. When it happened our one solar system was nothing more than a gas cloud and some alien imagination.

    But the energy numbers from this explosions are mind boggling. What did happen when this did explode was no small thing and nothing anyone want to be a nearby when it exploded. I'm sure the afterglow is going to be interesting to monitor.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: 3,8 billion years ago is a long time ago

      The other possibility is that it was just beam focused towards us, same as with gamma-ray bursts which apparently are not omnidirectional because that would imply ludicrous amounts of wattage; they are just doing a lighthouse impressions.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: 3,8 billion years ago is a long time ago

      When it happened our one solar system was nothing more than a gas cloud

      No, the solar system had already formed by then. We've got rocks dating to half a billion years before that.

  17. Winkypop Silver badge
    Joke

    "3.8 billion light years away"

    So old news then....

    1. Jimbo in Thailand
      Holmes

      Re: "3.8 billion light years away"

      LOL, all stargazing is "old news"!

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: "3.8 billion light years away"

        "LOL, all stargazing is "old news"!"

        Not necessarily - it kinda depends on the specific star. I mean, I wouldn't call "8 minutes ago" "old news"...

        1. Ian Emery Silver badge

          Re: "3.8 billion light years away"

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

          Hmmmm.

          And just to mix genres

          When men were real men, women were real women, and pink furry things from Alpha Centuri were REAL pink furry things from Alpha Centuri.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting

    Perhaps it was previously a neutron star that collided with a near-end-of-life Sun type star head on at some fraction of C?

    Could explain the strange spectrum.

  19. Scott Broukell
    Meh

    I vote that the whole of humanity follow the brightness with our telescopes and bow down to it's luminosity, prostrate ourselves before its supernoviness and take up chanting and wailing in order that it be knownst herein and there after throughout the world as a sign of our inability to grasp reality, instead preferring our own contrived death cults and the mutterings of power hungry mad c*nts in robes. We could even willingly kill our own kind, and sacrifice many other animals, in order to demonstrate our fullest commitment to all of the above. Just saying.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too much over thinking

    This phenomenon is clearly the simple result of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object,

  21. cbars

    Anyone else read that as...

    ASSASSIN?

  22. Sealand

    I really like the mental image of a magnetar going kerpoof, but this was probably something trivial like their LHC at full throttle being thrown into reverse by mistake.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The surprising thing

    Is that so far neither North Korea nor Daesh have claimed the credit.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: The surprising thing

      Neither Marx hoovering up communist lore and writing economically ignorant gibberish nor The Prophet had been invented yet back then.

  24. kryptonaut

    Echoes

    Presumably, unless its output was highly directional and happened to be aimed at us, this explosion will produce light echoes from all sorts of things - could that be used as a way to (a) discover more about the nature of the explosion itself, and (b) discover more about the relative distances (and motion?) of objects between here and the explosion?

  25. Joerg

    Fact is that scientists know nothing about stars and supernovae for sure. 99% of what they say is just pure fairy tales.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      FAIL

      And you know that they don't know?

      Trottel.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fact is that scientists know nothing about stars and supernovae for sure.

      There speaks somebody who hasn't got a clue as to either the current state of astronomy or the current state of stellar thermodynamics.

      Stars and supernovae have the advantage of being great big lab experiments that obligingly pump out vast amounts of data for us to study. We know more about them, objectively, than we do about the ground 50km below our feet. A lot of their nuclear reactions have been confirmed on Earth. Even in the early 1970s with the primitive computers of the day, astrophysicists were modelling novas and supernovas. (I know because the guy given the shitty job of trying to teach me thermodynamics was one of them. Sorry.)

      The fact that scientists don't know a lot about an extremely rare type of event that has not previously been encountered and is only now being investigated could be described as "normal for science".

  26. Joey

    Meh

    Big bangs are now two a penny.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh

      Two a penny? I'm told that there are parts of the Internet where they can be observed for free.

  27. Bartek

    Diversion

    Well dont stop patroling other areas of sky. Maybe a fleet of badies is trying to get near our balls.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Black Hole assisted supernova... Would such a thing be plausible? A star that is eligible for a supernova is caught in an orbit around a black hole, where it's slowly but surely stripped of all it's lighter elements... At some point there are too few light elements to fuse, the core collapses and boom supernova, right next to a black hole... Gravity waves galore, the black hole 'sucks' up part of the supernova, experiences a sudden increase in rotational speed and ejects a lot of mass in jets along the poles, pulling with it the remnants of the supernova...

    At least that's what I'd write in a SciFi story.

  29. BoldMan

    Its obvious - this was just Kimball Kinnison inerting two superheavy blue giant stars whose intrinsic velocities were faster than the speed of light in opposing directions that he'd brought over from another dimension...

    This should finally end the Eddorian menace once and for all!

  30. MT Field
    Happy

    That is tremendous

  31. Named coward

    "570 billion times brighter than our sun's output" ...Our sun's output over what time? 1 second? 1 year? its lifetime?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      At any given moment in time? We're talking luminosity here, not wattage (aren't we?)

    2. AC Wilson

      570 billion times brighter than the sun...

      I'm glad it happened in the daytime, I live in downtown Waikiki, it's hard enough to sleep at night already.

  32. Clive Galway

    "570 billion times brighter than our sun's output" ...Our sun's output over what time? 1 second? 1 year? its lifetime?

    Oh my, that really needs explaining? If you omit such information from a comparison, the assumption is that you are comparing like for like.

    The amount it outputs in x seconds is 570 million times more than our sun's output in x seconds.

  33. imanidiot Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    It was Rodney McKay

    screwing up on the Arcturus project!

  34. jonnycando

    The past.....

    It occurs to me, that as we look farther and farther out, we look farther and farther to the past....and we WILL see more things like this...ever more, ever more frequently. For at some point we will be looking at the the very first instance. The initial eruption of the big bang, if you will.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: The past.....

      You can't see further than the moment when the universe was opaque and mixing the light quite tremendously.

      This is what the CMB is: the light that started free-traveling as the universe became transparent, a few million years after GRIDFIRE EVERYHWERE (aka Big Bang)

  35. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Alien

    "we do not know what could be the power source for ASASSN-15lh"

    Sounds to me like some teenager hit the exhaust port.

    Scientists should expect this kind of stuff when they are observing events that happened a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: "we do not know what could be the power source for ASASSN-15lh"

      TFW you realize that Luke was a teenager and should have been in fucking high school along with his sister.

  36. Queasy Rider

    Crash Course Astronomy

    I just finished downloading and watching all 45 episodes of this informative Youtube series, and I wonder why an exploding magnetar is not the answer. Like so many other previously undiscovered exotic astronomical objects, like pulsars and quasars, I expect the discovery of a few more similar objects will sort this out.

  37. eldakka Silver badge

    "or alien pressing the wrong button?" or alien pressing the RIGHT button ...

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