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Return of superstar supernova raises doubt about its identity

Brightest explosion’s resurgence suggests black hole mischief

By
2:57pm, May 24, 2016
supernova

IT’S BAAAACK An alleged supernova — the brightest known — detected in 2015 is back for another round, researchers report. Left and right panels show before and after images from the initial detection.

A celebrity supernova appears to have come back for an encore — with hints that it might not be a supernova after all.

Last year, astronomers reported that a burst of light from about 3 billion light-years away was the brightest exploding star seen to date. After about 80 days of fading away, the cosmic flash (dubbed ASASSN-15lh) started to get bright again, researchers report online May 12 at arXiv.org. Another 80 days later, it was blasting out as much ultraviolet light as some other supernovas.

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