What does a star look like when it explodes?
It looks like this.
You’ve just seen something humans have never seen before, according to NASA.
Researchers at Notre Dame analyzed light captured by the space telescope Kepler over a three year period from 500 different galaxies. They wanted to find the death of a star.
The found it, NASA announced yesterday. They found two.
While both explosions delivered a similar energetic punch, no shock breakout was seen in the smaller of the supergiants. Scientists think that is likely due to the smaller star being surrounded by gas, perhaps enough to mask the shockwave when it reached the star’s surface.
“That is the puzzle of these results,” said Garnavich. “You look at two supernovae and see two different things. That’s maximum diversity.”
Understanding the physics of these violent events allows scientists to better understand how the seeds of chemical complexity and life itself have been scattered in space and time in our Milky Way galaxy
“All heavy elements in the universe come from supernova explosions. For example, all the silver, nickel, and copper in the earth and even in our bodies came from the explosive death throes of stars,” said Steve Howell, project scientist for NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “Life exists because of supernovae.”
— Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) March 22, 2016