Catalina Sky Survey finds 700 "optical transients" and 177 supernovae

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Washington, August 25 (ANI): Astronomers, using astronomical data from the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey, have found more than 700 unique "optical transients," or objects that change brightness on time scales of minutes to years, as well as 177 supernovae.

Their discoveries include the most energetic supernova ever seen, and a nearby stellar explosion in the Antennae galaxy that is helping astronomers refine the cosmic distance scale.

Unlike most dedicated supernova surveys, Catalina Sky Survey telescopes cover the entire sky each month, allowing the team to record supernovae in dim galaxies where others weren't looking.

The survey data includes 185 cataclysmic variable stars, which is about three out of every four such objects discovered over the same time span and more than the Sloan Digital Sky Survey found in six years.

This result suggests that cataclysmic variables are more common than previously thought.

The survey also found 32 blazars, or beamed active galactic nuclei. These very compact and highly variable energy sources are among the most violent phenomena in the universe.

Other findings include about 30 stellar flares, which are large explosions in stellar atmospheres, and about 100 highly erratic light sources that include active galactic nuclei, high proper motion stars and sources that remain unknown. (ANI)

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