The New York Times > Science > Space & Cosmos > Dying Star Flares Up, Briefly Outshining Rest of Galaxy

 

By KENNETH CHANG

Published: February 20, 2005

For a fraction of a second in December, a dying remnant of an exploded star let out of a burst of light that outshone the Milky Way’s other half-trillion stars combined, astronomers announced Friday.

Even on Earth, half a galaxy away, the starburst was one of the brightest objects ever observed in the sky, after the Sun and perhaps a few comets. The magnitude of the event caught most astronomers by surprise.

"Whoppingly bright," said Dr. Bryan M. Gaensler, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. "It gave off more energy in 0.2 seconds than the Sun does in 100,000 to 200,000 years."

The New York Times > Science > Space & Cosmos > Dying Star Flares Up, Briefly Outshining Rest of Galaxy

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