The Birth of a New Star Following a Stellar Explosion has Just Been Witnessed


Supernovae, which are explosions of stars, can be extremely bright and they can overshadow their host galaxies. It can take months or even years for them to disappear and from time to time, the gaseous residue of the explosion collides with gas that is rich in hydrogen and then it gets bright again for a short period. Now the question is: can these remains stay shining without having any intrusion from outside? Dan Milisavljevic, who is an assistant professor of astronomy and physics at the Purdue University, thinks that this is exactly what he observed six years after the explosion of “SN 2012au”.

A new type of explosion

Milisavljevic has mentioned that this type of explosion has never been observed before. He said that there is no “spectral spike of hydrogen in the data”, which means that there is something different that was enlivening the explosion. When a large star explodes, its interior collapses until its particles become neutrons. Following this event, in case the final neutron star has a magnetic field and also rotates with a big enough speed, it could easily turn into a pulsar wind nebula. According to a new paper that was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, this is most probably what happened to SN 2012au.

First time to witness such an event

Another thing that Milisavljevic stated is that scientists knew before about these neutron stars that are rotating very fast, which are produced by supernova explosions. However, until now there was no “direct evidence of it at this unique time frame”. He also said that, in his opinion, if researchers will keep on monitoring such incredibly bright supernovae, they could see very similar transformations. Scientists have long wanted to make sense of the fundamental physics behind these very luminous supernova, however, they are quite rare and take place very far from Earth.


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