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A very faint core-collapse supernova in M85

Nature volume 449, pages E1E2 (18 October 2007) | Download Citation



Arising from: S. R. Kulkarni et al. Nature 447, 458–460 (2007)10.1038/nature05822

An anomalous transient in the early Hubble-type (S0) galaxy Messier 85 (M85) in the Virgo cluster was discovered by Kulkarni et al.1 on 7 January 2006 that had very low luminosity (peak absolute R-band magnitude MR of about -12) that was constant over more than 80 days, red colour and narrow spectral lines, which seem inconsistent with those observed in any known class of transient events. Kulkarni et al.1 suggest an exotic stellar merger as the possible origin. An alternative explanation is that the transient in M85 was a type II-plateau supernova of extremely low luminosity, exploding in a lenticular galaxy with residual star-forming activity. This intriguing transient might be the faintest supernova that has ever been discovered.

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Author information


  1. *Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK.

    • A. Pastorello
    • , S. J. Smartt
    •  & S. Spiro
  2. †INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Arcetri, 50125 Firenze, Italy

    • M. Della Valle
  3. ‡International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics Network, 65122 Pescara, Italy

    • M. Della Valle
  4. §Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA

    • M. Della Valle
    • , S. Benetti
    • , E. Cappellaro
    •  & M. Turatto
  5. INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, 35122 Padova, Italy

    • L. Zampieri
    • , S. Benetti
    • , E. Cappellaro
    • , S. Spiro
    •  & M. Turatto
  6. ¶Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, 85741 Garching bei München, Germany

    • P. A. Mazzali
  7. #INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, 34131 Trieste, Italy

    • P. A. Mazzali
  8. European Southern Observatory, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany

    • F. Patat
    •  & S. Valenti
  9. **Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Ferrara, 44100 Ferrara, Italy

    • S. Valenti


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