One 'zombie star' seems to keep coming back from the dead

A zombie star has scientists puzzled as it appears to have exploded and then come back to life several times and may be the first of its kind. 

Scientists at Las Cumbres Observatory in California first observed the supernova known as iPTF14hls in 2014. 

Usually, when a supernova occurs, it means a star has died but will typically remain bright for around 100 days after the explosion. 

However, according to the study published in the journal Nature, this supernova began to dim and then brighten again over the course of 600 days.

RELATED: New photos from NASA's Jupiter probe

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New photos from NASA's Jupiter probe
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New photos from NASA's Jupiter probe
(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In the most recent flyby, as with the previous eight, Juno's flyby started over Jupiter's north pole.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Source: NASA

The spacecraft then swept within a few thousand miles of the gas giant, capturing stunning high-resolution views of its cloud tops.

At its closest approach to Jupiter during each flyby, the robot briefly becomes the fastest human-made object in the solar system, reaching speeds of around 130,000 miles per hour.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major)

Then Juno flew back out into deep space, passing over Jupiter's south pole on its exit. Churning storms at the poles constantly change their appearance.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Source: NASA

Juno pulls off this two-hour flyby, called a perijove, once every 53 days — the length of its extreme orbit around Jupiter.

Researchers upload the raw data sent by the probe to the mission's website.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

There, enthusiasts take the drab, mostly gray image data and process it all into true-to-life color photos.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Many snapshots of Jupiter take on an artistic quality.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Others dazzle with their detail of the planet's thick cloud bands and powerful storms.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Some of the tempests are large enough to swallow planet Earth — or at least a good chunk of it.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

The planet's atmosphere is a turbulent mess of hydrogen and helium gases.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

There are also traces of molecules like ammonia, methane, sulfur, and water, which give the clouds different colors and properties.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

The mixture sometimes creates features that look like faces (as seen on the left in this image).

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Other times, shining-white clouds fill up most of a band.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Many cloud bands have features called chevrons. These atmospheric disturbances blow at several hundreds of miles per hour and sometimes zig-zag through a band, or punch through into others.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

In this older view of Jupiter, from Juno's eighth perijove, two cloud bands battle for dominance — one of which contains a swirling storm many times larger than a hurricane on Earth.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

The spacecraft will continue to document Jupiter for as long as NASA can keep it going. But not forever.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

NASA will eventually destroy the $1 billion robot. That way, it can't accidentally crash into Jupiter's icy moon Europa, contaminate the ocean there, and any alien life it may harbor.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute)

Sources: Business Insider (12)

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The star was 50 times more massive than our sun and it may be the largest supernova explosion ever observed. 

While scientists have a theory that the star is partially exploding but keeps its inner core in tact, they really don’t have an answer to explain the phenomena.  

For now, the team will continue to monitor the explosion and get a better look at it as the light fades and the supernova expands. 

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