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News Release Archive:

News Release 57 of 214

January 6, 2009 12:20 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2009-04

Star Light, Star Bright, Its Explanation is Out of Sight

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Image: Optical Transient SCP 06F6

Optical Transient SCP 06F6STScI-PRC2009-04a

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

This pair of NASA Hubble Space Telescope pictures shows the appearance of a mysterious burst of light that was detected on February 21, 2006, brightened over 100 days, and then faded into oblivion after another 100 days. The source of the outburst remains unidentified.

The event was detected serendipitously in a Hubble search for supernovae in a distant cluster of galaxies. The light-signature of this event does not match the behavior of a supernova or any previously observed astronomical transient phenomenon in the universe.

Astronomers do not know the object's distance, so it can either be in our Milky Way galaxy or at a great astronomical distance. The optical spectrum of the object contains absorption features that have not yet been identified. This may represent a previously undetected class of transient phenomenon in the universe.

Object Name: SCP 06F6

Image Type: Astronomical/Illustration

Credit: NASA, ESA, and K. Barbary (University of California, Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Supernova Cosmology Project)

NEWS RELEASE IMAGES

The above montage includes these images:

Field of Optical Transient Source Not Visible - November 2005 - January 2006 Image Type: Astronomical Field of Optical Transient Source Not Visible - November 2005 - January 2006 HST ACS/WFC Image of Optical Transient SCP 06F6 - May 21, 2006 Image Type: Astronomical HST ACS/WFC Image of Optical Transient SCP 06F6 - May 21, 2006

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