“Something Never Seen Before” –Mystery Outburst in a Distant Galaxy

 

The Cow Mystery Object

 

Is it a monster black hole of epic size or a first-of-its-kind supernova? A brief and unusual flash spotted in the night sky on June 16, 2018, has baffled astronomers and astrophysicists around the world. The event – called AT2018cow and nicknamed “the Cow” after the coincidental final letters in its official name – is unlike any celestial outburst ever seen before, prompting multiple theories about its source. “We saw features in the Cow that we have never seen before in a transient, or rapidly changing, object,” said Raffaella Margutti, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University.

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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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