Astronomers: “A Cosmic Engine Powering Mystery Blast Called Cow”

AT2018cow

 

“We still don’t know what this is, although it is one of the most intensely studied cosmic events in history,” says Caltech’s Anna Ho, lead author of a new study about the event. Cow was likely a supernova, she says, although some scientists have proposed that it instead may have been caused by a black hole ripping apart a type of star called a white dwarf.

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Mystery Object in Local Universe –“I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This” (A 2018 Most Viewed)

Neutron Star in Crab Nebula

 

“It was 11 o’clock on a Sunday night, and I said to myself, ‘I better tell everybody about this,” says Stephen Smartt, an astrophysicist at Queen’s University Belfast and lead scientist for the Hawaii-based ATLAS survey, which first observed the object that has rocked astronomy since its discovery in June, 2018. “I’ve never seen anything like this before in the local universe. It popped up out of nowhere.”

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