Most people have heard about star explosions, but a few know that this phenomenon is actually called Supernova. This stage marks a massive star’s end; astronomers say that throughout the universe, a star explosion happens every second. Even if they know which stars are about to explode, astronomers cannot see them through telescopes most of the times. But, even with telescopes, astronomers don’t see these explosions very often.
A supernova can produce an intense brilliance at its’ explosion; the effect is so amazing that it can illuminate the entire galaxy. The time for fading is also very short, similar to a blink if you use the cosmic timescale as a reference (most of the time, it takes several weeks until the star explosions fade).
However, the last decade has served astronomers as timer for discovering the mysteries of another type of explosion, one that fades even fasters than a supernova and it’s called Fast-Evolving Luminous Transient (FELTs). Since they only last for a very short period of time, FELTs have rarely been seen in sky surveys by telescope. Now, due to the world’s star space telescope, Kepler by NASA, astronomers could catch a FELT right when it happened.
How did Kepler contribute to the observation
Kepler was launched in 2009 into the Earth’s orbit. Since then, astronomers have noticed thousands of exoplanets and their candidates. Now, when scientists find distant planets, they know that they can rely on Kepler for studying them. Data collected by the telescope over the years has lead astronomers to the conclusion that a FELT is actually another type of supernova explosion, one with a brightness turbo boost provided by its’ surroundings.
As a conclusion, astronomers mentioned the fact that Kepler has the unique ability to stress out the possible changes in a star’s componence and the processes that might occur in it. They will continue to study FELTs and another phenomenon from our galaxy and they hope to continuously rely on Kepler’s support.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca