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Tag: supernova

Betelgeuse: Nearby ‘supernova’ star’s dimming explained

Betelgeuse: Nearby ‘supernova’ star’s dimming explained

Science
Astronomers say big cool patches on a "supergiant" star close to Earth were behind its surprise dimming last year.Red giant stars like Betelgeuse frequently undergo changes in brightness, but the drop to 40% of its normal value between October 2019 and April 2020 surprised astronomers.Researchers now say this was caused by gigantic cool areas similar to the sunspots seen on our own parent star.There had been speculation that Betelgeuse was about to go supernova.But the star instead began to recover and by May 2020 it was back at its original brightness.Betelgeuse, which is about 500 light-years from Earth, is reaching the end of its life. But it's not known precisely when it will explode; it could take as long as hundreds of thou...
Most powerful supernova in the universe discovered

Most powerful supernova in the universe discovered

Technology
An international team of astronomers has discovered a supernova which is at least twice as bright and energetic, and they believe much more massive, than any other ever spotted in the universe.Led by the University of Birmingham, the team believe the super-supernova, officially named SN2016aps, could be an example of something called a "pulsational pair-instability" supernova produced after two massive stars merged. This extremely rare event has previously been only theoretical, and no astronomical observations had been made which supported its existence until the researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Astronomy. ...
Supernova 1987A: ‘Blob’ hides long-sought remnant from star blast

Supernova 1987A: ‘Blob’ hides long-sought remnant from star blast

Science
Scientists believe they've finally tracked down the dead remnant from Supernova 1987A - one of their favourite star explosions.Astronomers knew the object must exist but had always struggled to identify its location because of a shroud of obscuring dust.Now, a UK-led team thinks the remnant's hiding place can be pinpointed from the way it's been heating up that dust.The researchers refer to the area of interest as "the blob"."It's so much hotter than its surroundings, the blob needs some explanation. It really stands out from its neighbouring dust clumps," Prof Haley Gomez from Cardiff University told BBC News."We think it's being heated by the hot neutron star created in the supernova."When telescopes first spotted the explosion...
Astrophysicists calculate temperature of atoms in a supernova shockwave

Astrophysicists calculate temperature of atoms in a supernova shockwave

Science
Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Scientists have for the first time precisely calculated the temperature of heavy atoms in a supernova shockwave, a feat that could provide valuable insights into the nature of violent stellar deaths. Using detailed observations captured by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, scientists at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Palermo in Italy created a high-resolution simulation of nearby supernova remnant SN1987A. The supernova shockwave model showed even the temperatures of the heaviest atoms are directly correlated with their atomic weights. "Supernova explosions and their remnants provide cosmic laboratories that enable us to explore physics in extreme conditions that cannot be duplicated on Earth," David Burrows, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at...
Star that birthed Tycho's supernova wasn't hot and bright

Star that birthed Tycho's supernova wasn't hot and bright

Science
Sept. 26 (UPI) -- An international team of scientists from the United States, Australia and Germany have offered new insights into the origins of Tycho's supernova.Until now, many astronomers assumed Tycho's supernova was formed by the explosion of a white dwarf that had been slowly stealing material from its companion star. But the latest analysis, published this week in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggests otherwise.First observed 445 years ago by the astronomer Tycho Brahe, Tycho's supernova is the most famous example of a Type Ia supernovae, the violent nuclear disruption of a white dwarf.In addition to serving as standard candles for cosmologists, Type Ia supernovae also play an important role in the formation and evolution of galaxies. The exploded shell of gas and dust serves as s...