Hubble Finds Unidentified Object in Space, Scientists Puzzle

Anything goes, except politics and religion please.

Moderators: Admin Team, Moderators

User avatar
TeMerc
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 15995
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 5:16 pm
Area Of Expertise: Security
experience: I know the functions, OS settings, registry tweaks and more
PC time: What else is there in life?
Location: PHX, AZ
Contact:

Hubble Finds Unidentified Object in Space, Scientists Puzzle

Postby TeMerc » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:46 am

In a paper to appear in the Astrophysical Journal, astronomers working on the Supernova Cosmology Project report finding a new kind of something that they cannot make any sense of.

Now you don't see it, now you do. Something in Bootes truly in the middle of nowhere — apparently not even in a galaxy — brightened by at least 120 times during more than three months and then faded away. Its spectrum was like nothing ever seen, write the discoverers, with "five broad absorption bands between 4100 and 6500 Angstroms and a mostly featureless continuum longward of 6500 Angstroms." Even the cause of the spectral features is unknown.

The project used the Hubble Space Telescope to monitor very distant galaxy clusters for supernovae. On February 21, 2006, in the direction of a far-away cluster in Bootes named CL 1432.5+3332.8 (redshift 1.112, light travel time 8.2 billion years), Hubble began seeing something brighten. It continued brightening for about 100 days and peaked at 21st magnitude in two near-infrared colors. It then faded away over a similar timescale, until nothing was left in view down to 26th magnitude. The object brightened and faded by a factor of at least 120, maybe more.

The mystery object did not behave like any known kind of supernova. It is not even in any detectable galaxy. "The shape of the light curve is inconsistent with microlensing," say the researchers. They recorded three spectra of it — and its spectrum, they write, "in addition to being inconsistent with all known supernova types, is not matched to any spectrum in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey database" of vast numbers of objects. "We suggest that the transient may be one of a new class."

nwz Continued @ Sky & Telescope
Image

Return to “Talk about whatever you like”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest