Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 51179
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2019/06/18 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
6/18    

2008/9/15-19 [Science/Space] UID:51179 Activity:nil
9/15    Hubble finds a mystery object in space:
        http://preview.tinyurl.com/63f5tn [Sky & Telescope]
2019/06/18 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
6/18    

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Cache (8192 bytes)
preview.tinyurl.com/63f5tn -> www.skyandtelescope.com/community/skyblog/newsblog/28244844.html?pageSize=0
rss > Alan MacRobert NEWS BLOG by Alan MacRobert Hubble Finds a Mystery Object Don't get the idea that we've found every kind of astronomical object there is in the universe. In a paper to appear in the Astrophysical Journal, astronomers working on the Supernova Cosmology Project report finding a new kind of something that they cannot make any sense of. Something in Bootes truly in the middle of nowhere -- apparently not even in a galaxy -- brightened by at least 120 times during more than three months and then faded away. Its spectrum was like nothing ever seen, write the discoverers, with "five broad absorption bands between 4100 and 6500 Angstroms and a mostly featureless continuum longward of 6500 Angstroms." K Barbary and others The project used the Hubble Space Telescope to monitor very distant galaxy clusters for supernovae. It continued brightening for about 100 days and peaked at 21st magnitude in two near-infrared colors. It then faded away over a similar timescale, until nothing was left in view down to 26th magnitude. The object brightened and faded by a factor of at least 120, maybe more. The mystery object did not behave like any known kind of supernova. "The shape of the light curve is inconsistent with microlensing," say the researchers. They recorded three spectra of it -- and its spectrum, they write, "in addition to being inconsistent with all known supernova types, is not matched to any spectrum in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey database" of vast numbers of objects. "We suggest that the transient may be one of a new class." That would certainly be a first step to figuring it out, but only the broadest constraints can be put on its distance. Its lack of parallax motion means that it can't be closer than about 130 light-years, and a lack of cosmic hydrogen absorption in its spectrum means that it can't be farther than 11 billion light-years (when "distance" is defined by light travel time). Report Violation Mystery object Posted by Pete September 12, 2008 At 07:37 AM PDT Perhaps the universe is immensely larger than we know and where we were looking was toward the center of the universe. We know that galaxies revolve around a central object, possible a black hole. The gravitational forces will eventually pull all the objects into its center. As the planets and stars are consumed by the center object it grows larger and more denser. We know that even light cannot escape but maybe a black hole can get so big and so dense that even its own gravitational forces gets pull back in and the result is a mega flash/implosion. What this object may have been is the extreme end of how far light does travel. An example of what I mean is if you lite a firecracker and were 3 feet away you could see the flash of the explosion. The further it travel the more is dispenses over a broader area. Eventually it reaches a point where it no longer has the ability to be seen. In the fire cracker analogy the light seen from 2 feet away last a fraction of a second. If this were the case of a black hole or super nova larger than anything we can imagine than the universe would have to be immensely larger than we know. Report Violation Scientific Shoulder Shrug Posted by eKim September 12, 2008 At 08:40 AM PDT I read the paper, and while I don't have any insight as to what this object might be, I couldn't help but chuckle after I finished when I thought the conclusion could have been condensed to the simple statement "After considering all of the above, we still don't have any idea what this thing is, but at least we tried really hard." Report Violation No idea, but distance wrong Posted by Dr. S&T has had a good record of giving correct cosmological distances, please do continue that. I've edited the text to clarify that the "distance" is given as the light travel time. This is widely used, actually, since this version of cosmological "distance" says the most useful things about what we are actually viewing -- not what we _would_ see if we had a God's-eye view and could see "now" at infinite speed, Einstein be damned. Nor what we would see if we traveled back in time and looked at infinite speed from then. Report Violation Mystery object Posted by TBluefield September 12, 2008 At 09:12 AM PDT Could it be that the Universe keeps creating new things in its unlimited creativity... Report Violation Mystery Object Posted by Tom Buchanan September 12, 2008 At 02:09 PM PDT I read the paper and examined the spectrum. Five absorption lines were found, two of which were tentatively identified as hydrogen and one as sodium. The two remaining mystery lines are at 5360 and 6330 angstroms. I suggest that the 6330 line is Fe X, which shows up in the flash spectrum of a total solar eclipse at 6374 angstroms. The value 6374 appears to fit the trough in the spectrum better than the 6330 value marked on the chart. Perhaps the 5360 result is caused by some other ionized atoms. I examined all flash spectra I have, including three I took, and those published in S & T (October 1973, p 221; The apparent absence of the hydrogen-alpha line might be because the absorption cancels out the emission, especially in a spectrum of low resolution. Report Violation seeing the light Posted by John September 12, 2008 At 07:35 PM PDT I'm a beginner (at 58, no less), but I remember reading a theory that says our universe is one universe basically floating in a 'sea' of universes. If so, what if the light Hubbell was seeing was from an extremely rare 'bump' with another universe, maybe having the effect of briefly tranfering light waves to our universe? Report Violation seeing the light Posted by John September 12, 2008 At 07:35 PM PDT I'm a beginner (at 58, no less), but I remember reading a theory that says our universe is one universe basically floating in a 'sea' of universes. If so, what if the light Hubbell was seeing was from an extremely rare 'bump' with another universe, maybe having the effect of briefly tranfering light waves to our universe? Report Violation see the light Posted by John Conley September 12, 2008 At 07:41 PM PDT Maybe our universe was merely bumping into another universe or dimension, transfering light briefly. Report Violation see the light Posted by John Conley September 12, 2008 At 07:41 PM PDT Maybe our universe was merely bumping into another universe or dimension, transfering light briefly. Report Violation Oort Cloud Object Pulls a Comet Holmes Posted by Jolyon Johnson September 12, 2008 At 08:13 PM PDT It's an Oort Cloud object that was either impacted or experienced a serious out gassing event like Comet Holmes. An impact would probably suggest a much fast brightening so I'd say out gassing. Report Violation LHC Posted by EricB September 13, 2008 At 07:18 AM PDT I have to say that the thought that struck Fizz Bang also struck me: it is obviously a Large Hadron Collider gone pop ! Report Violation Mystery Object Posted by Galactus September 13, 2008 At 09:04 AM PDT Given the lack of progenitor star, or lack of obvious or apparent extragalactic host system in the immediate vicinity, and given the unusual nature of the spectral observations regarding the 'mystery object,' would it be possible that the object is a small, failed black hole? If the singularity that comprised a very small black hole was to experience some kind of disruption in the gravity filed which holds it together and maintains the black hole's stability, would the strong gravitational force then rip the singularity apart, causing an apparent SN where one would not otherwise be expected? Also given the nature of the material composition of any given black hole singularity, would that not also account for spectral fluctuations (due to the vast array of elements and compounds that a black hole may aggregate over time) were the singularity to break free from the confines of its own strong gravitational force? Are there any known examples of black holes reaching a state of critical mass, where the force of their rotational mass exceeds the force of their gravity field, thus inducing a violent explosion that would rip the singularity apart, spreading its previously ultra-dense matter into a c...