Kepler Telescope Witnesses The First Moments Of A Dying Star In Detail

Posted: Dec 2 2018, 1:40pm CST | by , Updated: Dec 2 2018, 1:44pm CST, in Latest Science News


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Kepler Telescope Witnesses the First Moments of a Dying Star in Detail
Credit: NASA

The exploding star SN 2018oh is located in a spiral galaxy at a distance of more than 170 million light years away.

When a massive star nears the end of its life, it explodes as supernova. The supernova explosion is an extremely bright event and can be seen in distant galaxies. However, very little is known about the early stages of the brilliant explosions of dying stars. Using Kepler space telescope, astronomers have captured the earliest moments of an exploding star in unprecedented detail.

On February 2018, a massive star exploded while in view of an array of high-powered telescopes. The supernova called SN 2018oh blasted inside a spiral galaxy at a distance of more than 170 million light years away. It is an example of a Type Ia supernova that are important for our understanding of the universe.

“Kepler – in its final days before running out of fuel and being retired – observed the minute changes in brightness of the star's explosion from its very beginnings, while the ground-based telescopes detected changes in color and the atomic make-up of this dying star," said Dr. Brad Tucker from the Australian National University (ANU).

"With the combined data from these telescopes, astronomers achieved what they had hoped for –an unprecedented observation of the onset of a star's death."

Typically, a Type Ia supernova shines for three weeks before gradually fading away. But this supernova brightened rapidly a few days after the initial explosion. Observations revealed that the supernova was glowing blue during this intense period, which is an indication of extremely high temperatures.

There is a main possibility to explain the situation. An exploding white dwarf that has generated a shockwave after its core collapsed is likely the cause of SN 2018oh.

"It's possible in the case of SN 2018oh that the shock wave from the exploding white dwarf ran into the companion star, creating an extremely hot and bright halo that accounts for the added brightness and heat we observed," said Dr. Tucker.

“With this latest result, we now know a range of star systems cause these important explosions. The now retired Kepler Space telescope changed our view of the Universe—showing just how common planets around other stars are. It has also now revolutionized what we know about how stars end their lives in brilliant explosions."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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