Astronomers have seen what could be the most powerful supernova ever detected. The exploding star a super-luminous supernova, was first seen 3.8 billion light-years from Earth by the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) in June 2015 and is still radiating vast amounts of energy.
At its peak, the event was 200 times more powerful than a typical supernova, making it shine with 570 billion times the brightness of our Sun. Researchers think the explosion and ongoing activity have been boosted by a very dense, highly magnetised, remnant object called a magnetar.
This object, created as the supernova got going, is probably no bigger than a major city, such as London, and is likely spinning at a fantastic rate – perhaps a thousand times a second.