Astronomers Observed The Birth Of A New Star From A Stellar Explosion

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A supernova or stellar explosion can be so luminous that it might even outshine the galaxy it belongs to, and it could take months or years for the brightness to fade away. Also, sometimes, the gases that remain after the explosion hit the hydrogen-rich gas and temporarily shine again. However, a group of astronomers observed the birth of a new star, a pulsar wind nebula, from a stellar explosion for the first time.

Dan Milisavljevic, a professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue University, and his team observed the “SN 2012au” stellar explosion just six years after the event took place.

“We haven’t seen an explosion of this type, at such a late timescale, remain visible unless it had some kind of interaction with hydrogen gas left behind by the star prior to the explosion. But there’s no spectral spike of hydrogen in the data, something else was energizing this thing,” stated Professor Miliasavljevic.

The astronomers witnessed the birth of a new star following the “SN 2012au” stellar explosion

Commonly, as a massive star goes supernova and explodes, its interior collapses to a point where all its particles turn into neutrons, resulting in a new star known as a neutron star. If that space object possesses a powerful magnetic field and rotates at high speed, it becomes a pulsar wind nebula.

Even though the “SN 2012au” stellar explosion was not very bright, it was extremely energetic and long-lasting. The astronomers observed the birth of a new star, a pulsar wind nebula. “We know that supernova explosions produce these types of rapidly rotating neutron stars, but we never saw direct evidence of it at this unique time frame,” Milisavljevic said.

“If there truly is a pulsar or magnetar wind nebula at the center of the exploded star, it could push from the inside out and even accelerate the gas. If we return to some of these events a few years later and take careful measurements, we might observe the oxygen-rich gas racing away from the explosion even faster,” the astronomer added.

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Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.


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