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An unusually brilliant transient in the galaxy M85

Kulkarni, S. R. and Ofek, E. O. and Rau, A. and Cenko, S. B. and Soderberg, A. M. and Fox, D. B. and Gal-Yam, A. and Capak, P. L. and Moon, D.-S. and Li, W. and Filippenko, A. V. and Egami, E. and Kartaltepe, J. and Sanders, D. B. (2007) An unusually brilliant transient in the galaxy M85. Nature, 447 (7143). pp. 458-460. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/nature05822.

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Historically, variable and transient sources have both surprised astronomers and provided new views of the heavens. Here we report the discovery of an optical transient in the outskirts of the lenticular galaxy Messier 85 in the Virgo cluster. With a peak absolute R magnitude of -12, this event is distinctly brighter than novae, but fainter than type Ia supernovae (which are expected in a population of old stars in lenticular galaxies). Archival images of the field do not show a luminous star at that position with an upper limit in the g filter of about -4.1 mag, so it is unlikely to be a giant eruption from a luminous blue variable star. Over a two-month period, the transient source emitted radiation energy of almost 10^47 erg and subsequently faded in the optical sky. It is similar to, but six times more luminous at peak than, an enigmatic transient in the galaxy M31 (ref. 1). A possible origin of M85 OT2006-1 is a stellar merger. If so, searches for similar events in nearby galaxies will not only allow study of the physics of hyper-Eddington sources, but also probe an important phase in the evolution of stellar binary systems.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access Paper
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Ofek, E. O.0000-0002-6786-8774
Rau, A.0000-0001-5990-6243
Cenko, S. B.0000-0003-1673-970X
Fox, D. B.0000-0002-3714-672X
Gal-Yam, A.0000-0002-3653-5598
Capak, P. L.0000-0003-3578-6843
Moon, D.-S.0000-0003-4200-5064
Filippenko, A. V.0000-0003-3460-0103
Kartaltepe, J.0000-0001-9187-3605
Sanders, D. B.0000-0002-1233-9998
Alternate Title:An unusually brilliant transient in the galaxy Messier 85
Additional Information:© 2007 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 2 June 2006; accepted 30 March 2007. We thank D. Frail for discussion and constructive criticism. We also thank the astronomers who maintain the NED database at IPAC and the data archives of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Telescope. Our work has been funded in part by NASA, NSF, the Sylvia and Jim Katz Foundation and the TABASGO Foundation.
Group:COSMOS, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Sylvia and Jim Katz FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:7143
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150317-154247587
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Official Citation:Kulkarni, S. R., Ofek, E. O., Rau, A., Cenko, S. B., Soderberg, A. M., Fox, D. B., . . . Sanders, D. B. (2007). An unusually brilliant transient in the galaxy M85. [10.1038/nature05822]. Nature, 447(7143), 458-460.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:55867
Deposited On:18 Mar 2015 01:26
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 20:51

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