Neutron star explosion: The universe was in its infancy. A massive star exploded 11 billion years ago. Now the telescope has gone back 11 billion years to capture the moment before the giant star exploded or went supernova. The star was 530 times larger than our Sun.
Starburst: NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope created a unique example. Space telescopes have captured various moments of distant supernovae. Then the universe was in its infancy. A massive star exploded 11 billion years ago. Now the telescope has gone back 11 billion years to capture the moment before the giant star exploded or went supernova. The star was 530 times larger than our Sun. A cataclysmic explosion blew its outer layers of gas into the surrounding universe. This event is called a supernova. Astronomers have used powerful space observatories to image the collapsed state of an exploding star.
“A supernova can be detected at a very early stage. Because that step is very short. It lasts only a few hours to a few days, making supernovae very difficult to detect. At the same exposure we were able to see a series of images that looked like multiple faces of a supernova,” explains Wenli Chen, first author of the paper.
According to Wenli Chen, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature, the images were discovered in a 2010 review of Hubble observational archive data. Astronomers have been able to see a supernova in detail for the first time in the history of the universe.
NASA says these images and related research will help scientists learn more about the formation of stars and galaxies in the early universe. Such collapsed stars are called ‘red supergiants’. They lived in ‘dwarf galaxies’ and exploded at the end of their relatively short lifetimes.
“The supernova expands and cools,” says Patrick Kelly, a professor of astronomy at the University of Minnesota and co-author of the study. So its color evolves from warm blue to cool red.
Meanwhile, red supergiants tend to have brighter, larger, and more massive stars, Chen added. However, they are much cooler than other giant stars. That’s why they turned red. A red supergiant collapses after the fusion energy in its core is exhausted and the outer layers of the star explode after the explosion.
The Hubble exposure also captured rapid changes in the color of the fading supernova, indicating temperature changes. The hotter the supernova, the bluer it is. The first phase of the Hubble Space Telescope image is also seen in blue. As the supernova cooled, its light became redder. The research team was also able to measure the size of a dying star in the early universe.
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