back to article Mysterious supernova is blasting far-flung galaxy with flashes of UV light – and astroboffins don't know why

Astrophysicists have spied an extremely rare type of supernova from an exploding and possibly radioactive white dwarf that emits mysterious flashes of UV light. A white dwarf star in a binary system goes nova when it strips enough matter from its companion star to reach critical mass. The aged star will blow apart, shedding …

  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    For a standard candle to measure the universe

    I'm thinking Lush might be a bit more reliable.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: For a standard candle to measure the universe

      But the smell in their stores.

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: For a standard candle to measure the universe

        I wear my aqualung when asked to enter Lush.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    That solar system is just being disinfected against coronavirus!

    What? You thought us Earthlings were the only ones who had to worry about that stuff? Its not always about us you know.

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: That solar system is just being disinfected against coronavirus!

      Four supernovae (SNe), exploding 300 pc from Earth, were recorded 44, 37, 32, and 22 kyr ago in the radiocarbon (14C) record during the past 50 kyr. Each SN left a nearly identical signature in the record, beginning with an initial sudden increase in atmospheric radiocarbon, when the SN exploded, followed by a hiatus of 1500 yr, and concluding with a sustained 2000 yr increase in global radiocarbon due to gamma-rays produced by diffusive shock in the SN remnant (SNR). For the past 18 kyr excess radiocarbon has decayed with the 14C half-life.

      SN22kyrBP, is identified as the Vela SN that exploded 250 ± 30 pc from Earth. These SNe are confirmed in the 10 Be, 26 Al, 36 Cl, and NO3- geologic records. The rate of near-Earth SNe is consistent with the observed rate of historical SNe.

      See however the comment

  3. HildyJ Silver badge


    They've just misidentified it as ultraviolet, it's actually Octarine and they've captured the moment when Rincewind read the Octavo's spells.

  4. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge

    Hmm ...

    Place: A galaxy 140 million lightyears away. Time: 140 million years ago.

    A red-necked alien stares beneath the bonnet of his friend's UFO. He tugs experimentally at the mechanism, provoking short flashes of UV light. He hands his drink to his friend and picks up a large wrench.

    "Hold my Djinn N'tonnix, I've got this."

    1. xeroks

      Re: Hmm ...

      Djinn N’tonnix? And he was able to pick up a wrench? Either this guy has the constitution of an asteroid donkey or this is made up.

      1. a pressbutton

        Re: Hmm ...

        You wish.

  5. steviebuk Silver badge

    Its the Borg

    at least it normally is.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You have been warned human

  7. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    >Something unusual happened with this supernova to create a very hot phenomenon.

    "The universe is clumpy":

    Fractal hotspots?


    Someone should tell the Stable Genius - his cult will love a new COVID-19 cure.

  9. David 132 Silver badge

    Not the good sort of supernova then?

    an exploding and possibly radioactive white dwarf

    So, not an exploding white dwarf that you’d want to get within 20’ of without lead shielding, then?

    Shame. It sounded so tempting otherwise.

  10. Neoc

    Yeah, yeah, let's be obvious: this massive explosion happened a log time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    Right. Itch scratched. <ahhh>

  11. Rol Silver badge

    Q. Two trains are travelling towards each other, each with a light on their engines. At what speed would they be travelling at for the light to appear blue to the other?

    Or put another way - Assuming red shift to be caused by nothing other than the Doppler effect, what kind of speeds are we talking for a z value of -0.2 (blue shift)?

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