A telescope placed safely on Earth has given scientists their first insight, in real time, at the moment when a giant red giant will transform into a supernova. The red giant planets are not the most powerful stars in the universe, but they are the most massive stars.
The star is located in the galaxy NGC 5731, which is 120 million light-years away, and was ten times larger than our Sun before it exploded, he writes. CNN.
Before stars transform into a supernova, it is not uncommon to see violent volcanic eruptions of gas glowing from the star. This is referred to as the Death Star Struggle. Prior to historical observation, astronomers believed that the giant red giants did not go through this phase of outbursts until they exploded, and that they simply died in silence.
But what the researchers observed changes everything.
Astronomers watched the star slowly but surely toward an explosion, before it finally collapsed and became a Type II supernova. The observation was described in detail in a peer-reviewed study published in the scientific journal Astrophysical Journal.
This is a historic breakthrough in our understanding of what happens to a massive star before it dies, says lead researcher behind the study, Wayne Jacobson Gallan, in a press release.
Astronomers have never before had the opportunity to observe the activity of the red giant before the actual explosion occurred.
– Time bomb
Scientists first recognized the star’s unusual behavior 130 days before it transformed into a supernova. A strong light radiation was observed in the summer of 2020, captured by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS telescope located on the island of Maui.
A few months later, in the fall of 2020, a supernova appeared in the same place. Thus, the researchers were able to confirm that the light they observed a few months ago was the death knell of the star.
It was like standing and watching a time bomb, says researcher Raffaella Margotti, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Berkeley. CNN.
Now researchers are diving into the books and rewriting our understanding of the death of a supernatural giant.
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Supernova in “Our Neighborhood”
It wasn’t long ago that scientists were able to notice changes in the behavior of the giant red giant Betelgeuse, one of the most powerful stars in our starry sky.
The aging star caught the attention of astronomers in 2019 when it suddenly became weaker. Within a few months, the change was so violent that it was visible to the naked eye from Earth, and was at its weakest since we began observing the star 150 years ago.
The observation was published in a study in Astrophysical Journal.
Astronomers around the world were preparing for the possibility of a supernova soon in our “neighborhood,” but within a few months, Betelgeuse was back to its “I” normal. By the way, it would not be dangerous for us on Earth if Betelgeuse exploded, even if it was clearly visible, even without binoculars.
The Hubble telescope has since revealed that a cloud of dust spewed from the star has caused the brightness to drop. However, the star’s behavior is unusual, and scientists still believe it may be a sign that it is a killer.
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