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Astronomers discover 72 transient phenomena in Dark Energy Survey

Published: 12 April 2018
Images of one of the transient events, from eight days before the maximum brightness to 18 days afterwards. Credit: M. Pursiainen / University of Southampton and DES collaboration

Southampton astronomer Miika Pursiainen has presented the discovery of dozens of unexplained stellar explosions as part of the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science in Liverpool.

Miika, a PhD researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was highlighting findings of the Dark Energy Survey Supernova Programme (DES-SN), an international study into factors accelerating the expansion of the Universe.

The DES-SN is searching for supernovae, the powerful explosions of massive stars, but has also identified 72 other very bright, but quick events. There is still debate around the origin of these transients, which appear to have temperatures ranging 10,000 to 30,000 degrees Celsius and vary in size from several up to a hundred times the 150 million kilometre distance from our Earth to the Sun.

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