May 28, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

Complete News World


A supernova caused by a collision with a deceased neighbor

Collisions with a very compact neighbor can cause not only stars but very healthy stars to burn out and eventually form supernovae.

When a star dies, it doesn’t happen without the necessary turbulence. A supernova is a phenomenon in which a star explodes in some sort of astronomical fireworks display, and glows tremendously. The most famous type of supernova is the primary collapse supernova. In doing so, the massive star — whose mass is more than ten times the mass of the Sun — runs out of fuel and its iron core collapses into a black hole or neutron star.

Research by Caltech astronomers suggests that there is another type of primary collapse supernova: one in which the star dies prematurely as a result of its collision with its already “dead” companion.

Read also:


In 2017, researchers detected a particularly bright pulse of radio waves in data from the Very Large Array (VLA) Radio Astronomy Observatory. The radio signal in question, VT 1210 + 4956, is the result of a supernova. It is believed to have been created by the interaction between matter thrown into space during the explosion and the gas cloud that shook a nearby star a few hundred years ago.

This, the researchers write in a professional journal ScienceTurns out it’s not the whole story. For more clues about the exact origin of this bright signal, astronomers turned to other data: X-rays. And yes: from the same source as VT 1210+4956, about 500 million light-years from Earth, the X-rays appear to have traveled to space years ago.

compressed neighbor

Astronomers believe that the star responsible for the supernova possesses a binary star: a companion that orbits around the same center of gravity. That neighboring star had previously died and orbited the star as a highly compressed black hole, or possibly a neutron star.

See also  Tug-of-war on the nitrogen space, even before you buy growers

This dead neighbor’s cloud would have sucked material out of the star over the years. Part of the matter was thrown into space as a result of the intense spinning force of the black hole (or neutron star). There would have been a doughnut of gas around the pair.

fatal collision

Ultimately, the researchers believe, this “dance,” in which the dying star drags and pulls, would have ended in a cosmic collision, in which the star explodes in a supernova. The X-ray signal can be attributed to this. Years later, the material associated with this explosion would have reached a “gas cake,” resulting in a subsequent bright radio pulse.

It was suspected for some time that such a merger could lead to a supernova. However, it has not been observed like this before.

Resources: ScienceAnd California Institute of TechnologyAnd EurekAlert!

BILD: Chuck Carter/Caltech