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Readers ask about supernovas, dark energy and more

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3:30pm, February 7, 2018

Dying light

Supernova iPTF14hls has erupted continually since its discovery in 2014, fluctuating in brightness at least five times. It may have had two other outbursts in the past, Lisa Grossman reported in “This star cheated death, exploding again and again” (SN: 12/9/17, p. 8).

Reddit user Bobgushmore wondered if the exploding star might actually be a supernova impostor similar to one of the biggest and brightest star systems in our galaxy, Eta Carinae, which is extremely volatile, but not a supernova.

Evidence suggests that iPTF14hls really is a supernova, says Iair Arcavi, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Santa

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