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News Release 86 of 243

January 6, 2009 12:20 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2009-04

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

An American Astronomical Society Meeting Release

January 6, 2009: 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.

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