“Even with all the collected data we cannot say with 100% certainty that the ASASSN-15lh event was a tidal disruption event. But it is by far the most likely explanation.” -Giorgos Leloudas
Last year, a record-shattering event occurred: we saw the brightest supernova ever observed in the Universe. It outshone the previous record holder by more than double, and it reached a peak brightness of more than 20 times the sum total of all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Surprisingly, it occurred in a red, quiet galaxy, rather than the bright blue ones famous for them. After 10 months of follow-up observations, it looks like it wasn’t a supernova after all.
Instead of fading away, there was a rebrightening months after the peak. Instead of cooling down, something reheated the glow to even greater temperatures. The only thing that fits the data? A tidal disruption event, and even those would only work if it were a supermassive black hole that rotated more quickly than any such event ever observed before.