Astronomers watch in real time as epic supernova may birth black hole

A team of astronomers recently captured a series of images of a distant star as it went supernova, providing extraordinary details of the star’s death and possible birth of a black hole.

A supernova is a massive explosion that occurs when a massive star dies. These events sometimes leave behind nebulae, neutron stars, and even black holes.The timing of a supernova explosion is difficult to predict, and astronomers usually only have the opportunity to image its aftermath, i.e. Starbursts of gas and dust.

However, a recent team managed to capture a supernova just 22 million light-years away from Earth (which isn’t that far away in terms of galaxies).The team’s analysis of this cataclysmic cosmic event is published today in nature.

“As a scientist, you have to act so quickly,” said Avishay Gal-Yam, an astronomer at the Weizmann Institute of Science and co-author of the paper, at the Keck Observatory. Very rare.” release. “Most science projects don’t happen in the middle of the night, but an opportunity presents itself and we have no choice but to respond accordingly.”

Composite image taken with the Liverpool Telescope showing the supernova (bright blue).

The supernova, named SN 2023ixf, occurred when a red supergiant star went out in the Messier 101 galaxy, also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy. The team observed the supernova using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, among others. Hubble has been used to observe this region of the universe before, meaning the team has historical data from the region before the end of red supergiants.

The team calculated the amount of material ejected by the supernova, as well as the mass and density of the star before it exploded. But the numbers were inconsistent, leading the team to come to a satisfactory conclusion.

“Discrepancies in calculations of the circumstellar material released in the explosion and the density and mass of that material before and after the supernova make it likely that the missing mass ended up in the black hole that formed after the explosion,” said study co-author Dr. Weitz “The cause of an explosion is often difficult to determine,” Mann Institute researcher Ido Israeli said in the same press release. “

In the future, because the team is still sifting through data from stellar explosions, it may be possible to determine exactly how much material SN 2023ixf ejected and how that material was distributed. But even the original paper was a cosmic bombshell.

more: How do we know when the sun will die?

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *