Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction

A new Class of transient?


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.


Author: davecl

Astronomy, science, science fiction

2 thoughts on “A new Class of transient?

  1. Hello Dave,

    Thanks for pointing me here – and I’m interested in astronomy and cosmology still. 🙂

    On the entry, yes, that object looks interesting. I suppose there’ll be follow-up observations on those coordinates, but it’d be nice to see an another one of the same kind somewhere.

    It’s fun to see that we really don’t know everything.

  2. Quite! I think it’s great when something like this is found – it means our job isn’t done yet 🙂

    LSST should observe the entire sky every few days to quite faint magnitudes so should be able to find more of these if they’re out there.

    Some time ago it was suggested that ‘variability’ was a new window onto the universe, and that there might be all kinds of time varying phenomena out there we weren’t aware of. With the results of SN searches, microlensing, planet transits and weird stuff like this, I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. And suddenly we have a whole new reason to have small telescopes scanning the skies – not that many are left!

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