Exploded Star 5 Times Brighter Than Any Supernova Seen Before

"This one is way above anything else known. It's really astonishing."

- Nathan Smith, Ph.D., UC-Berkeley

May 8, 2007  Cambridge, Massachusetts - The brightest supernova ever seen by human eyes was discovered in Fall 2006 by NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Lick Observatory ground-based optical telescope. The exploded star is called "SN 2006gy" and is five times brighter than hundreds of supernovae seen before. SN 2006gy is also the most energetic stellar explosion ever recorded. In fact, astronomers wonder if it is a new type of explosion that did not become a black hole like other supernovae, took 70 days to reach its supernova peak and remained brighter than other known supernovae for several months.

Illustration of SN 2006gy supernova in the constellation Perseus about 238,000,000 light-years from Earth. Illustration courtesy NASA/CXC/M.Weiss.
Illustration of SN 2006gy supernova in the constellation Perseus about 238,000,000 light-years from Earth. Illustration courtesy NASA/CXC/M.Weiss.

 

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