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Astronomers for the first time recorded a supernova explosion from a collision of stars

Category: English  |   07 Сентябрь 2021    

Astronomers for the first time recorded a supernova explosion from a collision of stars

Very Large Array (VLA) is a complex of 27 radio telescopes. It is located in the southern United States, in the state of New Mexico. The complex is able to detect objects that are not available for observation with other telescopes. During the observation of the sky, the authors of the study identified a new type of supernova, previously predicted exclusively theoretically.


Supernovae traditionally occur after a massive star has exhausted its fuel and is unable to resist its own gravity. Then the core of the star collapses, causing an explosion, after which a neutron star or a black hole appears in this place.


Since most massive stars appear in close binary systems, astronomers previously assumed that the companions could potentially spiral inward until they merge. According to the proposed theory, such a merger can also end in an explosion similar to the explosion resulting from the collapse of the core. However, until recently, such events have not been observed in reality.


The observation of the object VT J121001+4959647, discovered in 2017, helped to confirm the theory. The object emitted intense radio waves and in its properties corresponded to an expanding supernova remnant interacting with the surrounding matter.


Subsequent observations showed that the radiation comes from the outskirts of a dwarf star-forming galaxy located about 480 million light-years from Earth, and corresponds to the parameters predicted for a supernova caused by a merger. Later, it was possible to establish that the outbreak of X-rays occurred in 2014.


The data obtained allowed astronomers to reconstruct the events. Initially, VT J121001+4959647 was a pair of massive stars orbiting close to each other. One of them had a larger mass than the other, and eventually broke out as a supernova, leaving behind either a black hole or a super-dense neutron star. This compact object was gradually approaching the second star, and about 300 years ago it entered the upper atmosphere of the luminary. As a result of the interaction, stellar gas began to be ejected outwards, forming a ring around both objects.


A black hole or neutron star made its way to the core of a companion star, disrupting the nuclear fusion that keeps the star from collapsing, as a result of which it broke out as a supernova. At the same time, a jet of stellar material was ejected, which reached near-light speeds.


Sources: https://news.ruhttps://lenta.ru

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