Image: Stephen Smartt / ATLAS
Astrophysics from Queen’s University in Belfast (Ireland) and the University of Hawaii reported an unknown space phenomenon, nicknamed “Cow”. They found changing the brightness of the object is a transient, who was in the galaxy CGCG 137-068, remote from the Earth at 60 MPC (195,7 million light years). Its characteristics do not allow it to uniquely attributed to known phenomena, including supernovae. This writes the online edition of Science Alert.
An unusually bright object was discovered on June 17 of this year, with telescopes on the volcanoes Mauna Loa and Haleakala (Hawaii), which are used in the framework of the project ATLAS (eng. Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System), designed to track Earth-threatening asteroids. Scientists have talked about observations on Internet service ATel (The Astronomer”s Telegram), designed for rapid dissemination to astronomers information about the new space phenomena, including gamma-ray burst, supernovae, new and other optical transients.
First, scientists assumed that the object, designated AT2018cow and the nickname “Cow”, represented cataclysmically variable (CV), which is located in the milky Way and happened to be on the same line as the galaxy CGCG 137-068. CV represent the close binary systems where one star takes on another substance that is causing periodic explosions of bright (new). However, on 19 June Spanish astrophysics confirmed that the object is in CGCG 137-068.
The estimated luminosity of an object in three days increased to 4.1 times 10 to the 44th degree, erg per second, which is comparable with the extremely bright supernova, but the growth rate was too high for transients known types. The speed of expansion of the outbreak was estimated at 42 thousand kilometers per second. This means that ejected in the explosion of the substance is to experience relativistic effects. Starting June 19, the object began to fade.
The object was observed about two dozen major telescopes around the world. Scientists believe that they probably fixed a very rare type of supernova class Ic-BL or a powerful gamma-ray burst, but a number of distinctive features makes the exact nature of the phenomenon is unclear.
Video, photo All from Russia.