60-second Astro News: Solving Supernova Mysteries

Solving a 900-year-old Supernova Mystery

Parker's Star and supernova remnant
Infrared photographs from the Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) present the supernova remnant. At left, blue-green represents emission at 11 microns and longer 22-micron wavelengths. At proper, green is 11 microns and red 22 microns, whereas yellow reveals ultraviolet emission recorded by the Galex space telescope, and contours present X-ray emission. The UV and X-rays come largely from the core of the nebula, the place Parker’s Star burns vivid and sizzling.
Andreas Ritter et al. / Astrophysical Journal Letters

Almost a millenium in the past, in 1181 AD, Chinese astronomers famous a “guest star” that appeared as vivid as Saturn of their skies. This visitor marked a supernova that step by step dimmed over the subsequent six months earlier than disappearing from naked-eye view. But regardless that they recorded an approximate location on the sky, no trendy astronomer has been capable of establish the supernova supply.

Now, Albert Zijlstra (University of Manchester, UK) and colleagues announce the detection of the gaseous remnants of a supernova, an enormous bubble increasing at about 1,100 km/s (2.5 million mph). Calculating based mostly on the present charge of growth, the staff estimates the gases originated in a supernova explosion some 1,000 years in the past, at some extent close to the recorded location of the traditional visitor star.

The supernova was doubtless the merger of two white dwarfs in a kind of explosion astronomers classify as Type Iax, a uncommon beast that makes up solely 10% of the supernova menagerie. The merger left behind an excessive stellar remnant that the researchers have dubbed “Parker’s Star.”

Read extra concerning the Chinese visitor star of 1181 within the University of Manchester press release and the examine showing within the September tenth Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Supernova Reprise

Gravitationally lensed supernova, four ways
Now you see them, now you do not: The large galaxy cluster MACS J0138 bent and magnified the sunshine from a extra distant supernova, dubbed Requiem. Three views of that supernova seem within the 2016 picture on the left (white circles), taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. But these photographs have light away within the 2019 picture at proper. Researchers predict that mild from the identical supernova will seem once more in 2037 at a fourth location (yellow circle at prime left).
Steve A. Rodney (University of South Carolina), Gabriel Brammer (University of Copenhagen); Image processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI)

Ten billion years in the past, a star exploded. Its photons journeyed by way of the universe, passing by way of an enormous galaxy cluster some 6 billion years later. The gravity of these galaxies and their attendant retinues of sizzling gas acted like a cosmic lens, bending and magnifying the supernova’s mild, distorting it till it turned a number of photographs.

Those photographs appeared in a Hubble Space Telescope photograph in 2016 earlier than fading away. By 2019, there was no seen remnant of the supernova, dubbed Requiem.

But we’ll see Requiem once more. By the way the cluster has bent the background mild, astronomers predict that some photons took a fourth, longer path, and so they’ll take one other 16 years to reach. In 2037, astronomers will see in the event that they’re proper.

Gravitationally lensed supernovae have been noticed earlier than (Supernova Refsdal and iPTF16geu are two notable examples), however the extra of them the higher. Because their mild takes a number of paths to Earth, they’re highly effective probes of cosmology, giving astronomers an impartial measure of the much-debated present growth charge of the universe.

Read extra about Supernova Requiem within the Hubble press release and on this week’s Nature Astronomy.


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