An unprecedentedly bright and rapidly evolving supernova

An unprecedentedly bright and rapidly evolving supernova

Released

10/01/2019 11:15 pm

Copyright

R. Margutti/W. M. Keck Observatory

Description

An image of supernova explosion AT2018cow and its host galaxy, CGCG 137-068, which is located some 200 million light years away. The image was obtained on 17 August 2018 using the DEep Imaging and Multi-Object Spectrograph (DEIMOS) on the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

The insert in the top left shows a zoom onto the galaxy, indicating the location of the supernova.

The supernova was first spotted on 16 June 2018 with the ATLAS telescope, also in Hawaii. Further observations performed with a large team of telescopes – including ESA’s high-energy space telescopes Integral and XMM-Newton – revealed a source of powerful X-rays at the centre of this unprecedentedly bright and rapidly evolving stellar explosion, suggesting that it could either be a nascent black hole or neutron star with a powerful magnetic field, sucking in the surrounding material.

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