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New class of stellar explosion very bright and somewhat hard to explain

3:15pm, June 8, 2011

Blue, brilliant and bizarre. That’s how astronomers describe six supernovas that form a brand new class. Like other supernovas, these oddballs are stellar explosions that produce spectacular light shows as their glowing debris roils the gas around them. But unlike known supernovas, these newly discovered objects emit much of their light at ultraviolet wavelengths and bear no trace of hydrogen, an element in abundance in most other stellar blasts.

The very existence of these explosions defies ready explanation, says astronomer Robert Quimby of Caltech. He and his colleagues describe the findings June 8 online in Nature.

The new cla

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