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Astronomers Spot Brightest Supernova Ever Seen in the Universe


Think of the last time you stared at the sun, and how long it was before you had to look away, and now think of something being 570 billion times more luminous.

Published in the journal Science, the new study detailed what is now considered the brightest supernova ever spotted in the universe. Dubbed ASAS-SN-15lh, the superluminous supernova could offer clues to the nature of the early universe.

"ASAS-SN-15lh is the most powerful supernova discovered in human history," study lead author Subo Dong, an astronomer and a Youth Qianren Research Professor at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (KIAA) at Peking University, said in a press release. "The explosion's mechanism and power source remain shrouded in mystery because all known theories meet serious challenges in explaining the immense amount of energy ASAS-SN-15lh has radiated."

Using the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), the astronomers spotted the supernova's bright light some 3.8 billion light years from Earth, reported. They deemed it the most powerful supernova ever seen by measuring the radiation it pumped out.

"The feature which makes it the most unique is just its overall luminosity," study co-author Ben Shappee, of the Carnegie Observatories in California, told "It has other features which are part of a rare class called super-luminous Type 1 supernovae, which basically are very luminous and don't show any hydrogen or helium. So it's already part of this rare class, and it's the most extreme example of this rare class."

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