March 14th 2017
Astronomers spot an intense explosion of a massive star, which, according to records, experienced frequent eruptions for at least 20 years
The analysis of the outburst does not allow to discern between a real supernova - an explosive event marks the end of a star - or a giant eruption implying a massive change in the star’s evolutionary course
Massive stars end their lives in supernova explosions, highly energetic events that can be as luminous as the entire starlight from their host galaxies. However, there are events called "supernova impostors“ which, despite their intensity, are not the end of the star’s life. This could very well be the case of SN 2015bh, a star which had suffered at least 21 years of violent eruptions and which, together with a number of other objects, could be a member of a new class.