From: Stockholm University
Published November 10, 2017 11:37 AM

A Strange Stellar Explosion with Enduring Brightness

Sitting in a dwarf galaxy about 500 million light years away, supernova iPTF14hls initially seemed like the ordinary explosion of a red giant star when it was discovered by the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) survey in September 2014. Then the brightness of this event lasted more than four times longer than a normal supernova.

Every hour survey telescopes on Earth, and in space, discover new supernovae in distant galaxies. A supernova, the destruction of a star in a powerful explosion, sometimes outshines its own host galaxy. Scientists can often follow such an event for months. In the past decades, keen observing and modeling of supernovae has given us some understanding of how these explosions work. Fortunately, our budding understanding is regularly challenged by new, strange supernovae. Supernova iPTF14hls is a strange one indeed. A new paper in the journal Nature, led by Iair Arcavi (Las Cumbres Observatory, California, USA) and with OKC co-authors Jesper Sollerman, Francesco Taddia, Ragnhild Lunnan and Anders Nyholm, attempts to explain this supernova. Former OKC member Christoffer Fremling also contributed. 

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