Astronomers are baffled by a mysterious "zombie" star that won't die. The star, which lies 500 million light years away, has exploded multiple times since 1954. The event is a mystery to astronomers as supernovas are generally expected to explode only once and standard, current theoretical models cannot explain the strange behavior behind the "zombie" star, leaving many to speculate that the aliens are behind it, much like whatever else scientists cannot explain. Stellar explosions generally teach astronomers a great deal about the origins of much of the material that makes up our universe and a supernova explosion may have even triggered the formation of our own solar system.

Stars can die in a few ways, but the most spectacular way is as a supernova, an explosion that can outshine even its host galaxy. And while astronomers believe they have a relatively good understanding about how and why these stellar explosions occur, the "zombie star" just does not fit into any mold that we know of at this time. These types of supernovas reportedly occur when 8 to 15 times that of our own sun exhausts its energy and explodes. Typically, they continue to shine for roughly 100 days and over time they begin to fade. Instead, the "zombie" star has lasted 600 days.

In addition, the "zombie" star's brightness peaked five times, not once, which is typical for supernovas. The inner layers of blasted gas moved as fast as the outermost layers, which also sets it apart from other stellar explosions. And while a typical supernova gets cooler as time goes on, this one stayed about the same temperature. LCO astronomer, Lair Arcavi, says "The object's spectrum is a textbook Type IIP supernova spectrum, while everything else about it is very strange." What makes the matter even more weird is that the star has gone through similar outbursts since 1954. The star should have already collapsed into a black hole that could be 40 times the mass of our sun.

One of the weirder parts of this story is that most theoretical models predict that most of the hydrogen from the star should be eliminated after the initial explosion, which there should only be one explosion anyway, but there was a 2014 blast for the "zombie" star that contained a great amount of hydrogen. Could aliens be the reason behind the high levels of hydrogen and the star that just will not die? Stephen Hawking has recently said that he is now certain, "more than ever that we are not alone," and has warned against communications with aliens who have far superior intelligence then ours. Hawking has also warned that the Earth will be a giant ball of fire in 600 years, so we might have to reach out to our space brothers and sisters for help at some point.

Stan Woosley, a professor of astronomy at University California Santa Cruz, has said that the findings are mysterious and that there is no current information to explain what is happening. Though Woosley doesn't bring up the possibility of aliens and UFOs, he does continue say that it's a mystery. He had this to say.

"As of now, no detailed model has been published that can explain the observed emission and constant temperature of iPTF14hls ("zombie" star), let alone the possible eruption 60 years before the supernova."

Regardless of whatever is behind the "zombie" star, something weird is happening half of a billion light years away from Earth. The star continues to explode much like it has since 1954 and has had at least 2 explosions since the monitoring began. You can read more about the "zombie" star courtesy of Nature.com.

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Kevin Burwick