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The uncertainty of science: Astronomers have discovered the most powerful supernovae ever detected.
This one, called ASASSN-15lh, is about 3.8 billion light years away, 200 times more powerful than most supernovas, and twice as bright as the previous record holder. It shines 20 times brighter than the combined output of the Milky Way’s 100 billion stars, and in the last six months, it has spewed as much energy as the sun would in 10 lifetimes, says Krzysztof Stanek of the Ohio State University, co-principal investigator of the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) network that spotted the explosion. “This is really on steroids, and then some,” he says. “If it was in our own galaxy, it would shine brighter than the full moon; there would be no night, and it would be easily seen during the day.”
At the moment astronomers don’t really have an theory to explain how the supernovae could produce that much energy.