Astronomers from one of the large supernova search teams have found something they weren’t expecting. Detailed here, they’ve found an object that brightened and declined over a period of about 100 days, totally unlike a supernova or a microlensing source. Furthermore, it’s optical spectrum has five broad absorption bands which don’t match anything known or expected. No ‘host’ object has been found since the source faded.
It’s not often that a new object stumps astronomers in coming up with an idea of what it might be, but this one is really odd!
With larger, deeper variability studies on the way, for example, the LSST surveys, this object is an interesting hint that there’s more going on up there than we currently think.