Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Star dies in Brightest Supernova

Scientists identify brightest supernova

WASHINGTON - Scientists say they have detected the brightest stellar explosion ever recorded, a new breed of supernova that may well be repeated sooner than they previously thought.

The violent explosion was observed by ground-based telescopes as well as NASA's orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory in a galaxy far from our own Milky Way. But the observations hint that an erupting star in our own galaxy, called Eta Carinae, could be close to the same kind of blast, astronomers say in a paper to be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

For years, scientists have been looking for a blast this big, but never found one until last September. After months of analysis, the research team discussed their findings at a news conference Monday here at NASA Headquarters.