The mystery of supernovae about to be solved?

Even today, many phenomena taking place in space remain riddles. However, experiments are being conducted to provide answers to some of these spatial manifestations. This is how a team of astronomers studied more closely supernova transformation of a star dying. Curiously, the data collected during this study contradicts certain previously established theories.

Specifically, a supernova is the explosion cataclysmic of a star which, for a time, can shine brighter than a galaxy. During this process, gases, as well as a strong light, are issued. Moreover, according to the experts, the loss of mass of the dying star would be due to an instability rooted deep within stellar.

The stars studied were seen from two observatories, namely that of Pan-STARRS at Haleakala maui And the one of WM Keck at Maunakeaon the island from Hawaii.

Real-time images of the death of a star

For the first time, a team of astronomers was able to photograph a star in real time supergiant Red as she reached the end of her life. The team used the Low Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (LRIS) from the Keck Observatory to capture the first spectrum of the supernova.

“Keck helped provide direct evidence of a massive star transitioning into a supernova explosion, like looking at a ticking time bomb. »

Raffaella Margutti, associate professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley

In addition, the team’s observations provided insight into the supernovae type II and their progenitor stars.

Finally, the star’s significant variability leading to the collapse is puzzling. The powerful burst of light from the star before its explosion suggests that something unknown is happening in its structure internal. Whatever these changes are, they lead to a gigantic gas ejection before the star collapses and explodes.

Should prior knowledge be reviewed?

In the conclusion of their research, the scientists stated that“It is likely that the increased mass loss and precursor emission is the result of instabilities deeply rooted in the stellar interior. »

According to them, the deposition of energy from the waves gravitational generated in the combustion stages of the neon/oxygen could have ejected a stellar material.

“I am very excited about all the new ‘unknowns’ that have been unlocked by this discovery. Detecting more events like SN 2020tlf will have a huge impact on how we define the final months of stellar evolution. »

Jacobson-Galán, NSF graduate researcher at UC Berkeley


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