The first pictures taken by the Dark Energy Survey (DES) after the study initiated in August 2013 have exposed a rare, 'superluminous' supernova that exploded in a galaxy 7.8 billion light years away. The stellar eruption, so-called DES13S2cmm, simply outshines maximum galaxies in the Cosmos and might still be seen in the data six months later, at the end of the first of what will be five years of spotting by DES. The occurrence was discovered by Andreas Papadopoulos, a postgrad student from the University of Portsmouth, who presented the finding at the National Astronomy Meeting 2014 in Portsmouth on Wednesday, 25 June. Superluminous supernovae are a new discovery, only being accepted as a separate class of objects in the past 5 years. These cosmic eruptions are 10-50 times perkier at their peak than the brightest standard kind of supernovae and, unlike other supernovae; their explosive reasons remain anonymous. Papadopoulos said "Fewer than forty such supernovae have ever been found and I never expected to find one in the first DES images! As they are rare, each new discovery brings the potential for greater understanding -- or more surprises."
|Artist's impression of a Magnetar Credit: ESO/L.Calçada|
It turns out that even in this rare group, DES13S2cmm is strange and unfamiliar. The rate that it is diminishing away over time is considerably slower than for maximum other superluminous supernovae that have been detected so far. This alteration in brightness over time, or 'light curve', provides data on the procedures that triggered the explosion and the configuration of the material emitted.
|Before (left) and after (center) images of the region where DES13S2cmm was detected. On the right is a subtraction of these two images, displaying a bright new object at the center — a supernova. Credit: Dark Energy Survey.|
With DES opening its second term in August, the search is on for further superluminous supernovae.
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