February 27, 2024



Super-bright stellar explosion is likely a dying star giving birth to a black hole or neutron star


by Jennifer Chu,

December 13, 2021

In June of 2018, telescopes around the world picked up a brilliant blue flash from the spiral arm of a galaxy 200 million light years away. The powerful burst appeared at first to be a supernova, though it was much faster and far brighter than any stellar explosion scientists had yet seen. The signal, procedurally labeled AT2018cow, has since been dubbed simply “the Cow,” and astronomers have catalogued it as a fast blue optical transient, or FBOT—a bright, short-lived event of unknown origin.

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