ASASSN-15lh: The most luminous object observed ever puzzles astronomers

ASASSN-15lh: The most luminous object observed ever puzzles astronomers

The All Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), a project that comprises small telescopes worldwide to observe the universe for any bright objects, has detected an extremely luminous body that is 3.8 billion light years away from the Earth. Named ASASSN-15lh, this object is so bright that “it is 200 times more powerful than the average supernova, 570 billion times brighter than our sun, and 20 times brighter than all the stars in our Milky Way Galaxy combined.” Though it is so bright, the mass of ASASSN-15lh is small, which has puzzled the international team of astronomers that is studying the object. They believe that it could be the most powerful supernova ever observed or a magnetar - an extremely rare type of star. However, as the source of ASASSN-15lh’s energy is unknown, the astronomers think that the discovery would likely lead to novel observations of superluminous supernova. The Hubble Space Telescope will be used by the researchers to understand the object better.

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