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A composite image of a supernova remnant. Photo: MPIA / NASA/ Calar Alto Observatory

Supernovae are usually the death of stars but for at least one, explosion didn't mark the end, scientists report today in Nature.

What they saw: Supernova iPTF14hls was first observed in 2014. Unlike other supernovae that typically shine for about 100 days before fading, this one — about 500 million light-years away — grew brighter and then dimmer five times over 600 days. Even more peculiar, archives showed another explosion was observed in the same location in 1954.

Why its happening: Unclear. According to one theory, repeated explosions can occur in stars 95 -130 times more massive than the Sun. They, too, would end in a supernova and ultimately collapse into a black hole.

Yes, but: The supernova's constant temperature doesn't fit with the theory and it released more energy than theory predicts.

What's next: Supernova iPTF14hls may finally be fading, reports Lisa Grossman in Science News. "I am not making any more predictions about this thing," study author Iair Arcavi told Grossman. "It surprised us every time."

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries

Waiting, in New Delhi. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

While the 95% efficacy rates for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are great news for the U.S. and Europe, Monday's announcement from Oxford and AstraZeneca may be far more significant for the rest of the world.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca plan to distribute their vaccine at cost (around $3-4 per dose), and have already committed to providing over 1 billion doses to the developing world. The price tags are higher for the Pfizer ($20) and Moderna ($32-37) vaccines.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford University's 90%-effective vaccine.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 coronavirus deaths — Americans line up for testing ahead of Thanksgiving.
  3. Travel: Air travel's COVID-created future — Over 1 million U.S. travelers flew on Friday, despite calls to avoid holiday travel.
  4. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. coronavirus hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  5. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  6. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.

Biden transition names first Cabinet nominees

Biden with John Kerry. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday unveiled his nominations for top national security positions in his administration, tapping former Secretary of State John Kerry as his climate czar and former deputy national security adviser Avril Haines as director of national intelligence.

Why it matters: Haines, if confirmed, would make history as the first woman to oversee the U.S. intelligence community. Biden also plans to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to become the first Latino secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

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