NASA

The researchers, led by Peter Garnavich, an astrophysics professor at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, analyzed light captured by Kepler every 30 minutes over a three-year period from some 50 trillion stars.

NASA's MAVEN atmospheric research satellite, shown in this artist's impression, braked into orbit around Mars Sunday evening, kicking off a year of close-range observations to learn more about what caused much of the martian atmosphere to leak away in the distant past. NASA
NASA’s MAVEN atmospheric research satellite, shown in this artist’s impression, braked into orbit around Mars Sunday evening, kicking off a year of close-range observations to learn more about what caused much of the martian atmosphere to leak away in the distant past. NASA
They were hunting for signs of massive stellar death explosions known as supernovae, which begin when the internal furnace of a star runs out of nuclear fuel causing its core to collapse as gravity takes over.

During an supernovae, a supersonic shockwave is sent out from the star’s core, which will then cause a bright flash of light, called a “shock breakout,” when it reaches the surface of the star.

“The flash from a breakout should last about an hour, so you have to be very lucky or continuously stare at millions of stars just to catch one flash,” said Garnavich.

In the study, the researchers discovered two supernovae in the act of exploding, which were captured by Kepler in 2011.

The first, KSN 2011a, is nearly 300 times the size of Sun and a mere 700 million light years from Earth. The second, KSN 2011d, is roughly 500 times the size of Sun and around 1.2 billion light years away.

While both explosions delivered a similar energetic punch, no shock breakout was seen in KSN 2011a, the smaller of the two stars.

The researchers said that is likely due to the smaller one being surrounded by gas, perhaps enough to mask the shockwave when it reached the star’s surface.

The findings will be published by the Astrophysical Journal. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.