Luminous Red Nova - Discovery

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A small number of objects exhibiting the characteristics of luminous red novae have been observed over the last 30 years or so. The red star M31 RV in the Andromeda Galaxy flared brightly during 1988 and may have been a luminous red nova. In 1994, V4332 Sgr, a star in the Milky Way galaxy, flared similarly, and in 2002, V838 Mon followed suit and was studied quite closely.

The first confirmed Luminous Red Nova was the object M85 OT2006-1, in the Messier 85 galaxy. It was first observed during the Lick Observatory Supernova Search, and subsequently investigated by a team of astronomers from both U.C. Berkeley and Caltech. The team, led by Shrinivas Kulkarni confirmed its difference from known explosions such as novae and thermal pulses, and announced Luminous Red Novae as a new class of stellar explosion in a press release on May 23 2007 and by publication in the journal Nature.

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