Astronomers discover a stellar puzzle

Jun 15, 2007

Astronomers in Northern Ireland are trying to explain a puzzle discovered this decade -- a bright 2004 stellar flare followed two years later by a supernova.

The incredibly bright flare was followed by a type 1b supernova in the same place, making the two events an unlikely coincidence and something of a puzzle.

Andrea Pastorello and colleagues at Queens University in Belfast are offering a few explanations. They posit the initial flare could have come from a Wolf-Rayet star -- a very hot, massive, dying star that throws out a lot of gas. Or it could have come from a binary system, containing the supernova and a luminous blue variable -- a bright, hypergiant, variable star that flares periodically.

The conclusions in this week's issue of the journal Nature and support another study by an independent group of astronomers in the journal Astrophysics.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Hubble video shows shock collision inside black hole jet

Related Stories

Hubble observes one-of-a-kind star nicknamed 'Nasty'

May 21, 2015

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before in our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the star is ...

Supernova ignition surprises scientists

May 20, 2015

Scientists have captured the early death throes of supernovae for the first time and found that the universe's benchmark explosions are much more varied than expected.

Kepler's six years in science (and counting)

May 13, 2015

NASA's Kepler spacecraft began hunting for planets outside our solar system on May 12, 2009. From the trove of data collected, we have learned that planets are common, that most sun-like stars have at least ...

Hubble Finds Giant Halo Around the Andromeda Galaxy

May 07, 2015

Scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the immense halo of gas enveloping the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest massive galactic neighbor, is about six times larger and 1,000 times ...

Recommended for you

NASA telescopes set limits on space-time quantum 'foam'

2 hours ago

A team of scientists has used X-ray and gamma-ray observations of some of the most distant objects in the universe to better understand the nature of space and time. Their results set limits on the quantum ...

Shining message about the end of the Dark Ages

4 hours ago

An international team, including researchers from the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University (ZAH), has discovered three "cosmic Methusalems" from the earliest years of the universe. These unusual stars are about 13 ...

The kinematics of merging galaxies

5 hours ago

The unprecedented sensitivity of space telescopes has powered a revolution over the past decade in our understanding of galaxies in the young universe during its first billion years of existence. These primitive ...

Hubble video shows shock collision inside black hole jet

19 hours ago

When you're blasting though space at more than 98 percent of the speed of light, you may need driver's insurance. Astronomers have discovered for the first time a rear-end collision between two high-speed ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.