Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Supernova may have 'burped' before exploding

29.03.2018

The slow fade of radioactive elements following a supernova allows astrophysicists to study them at length. But the universe is packed full of flash-in-the pan transient events lasting only a brief time, so quick and hard to study they remain a mystery.

Only by increasing the rate at which telescopes monitor the sky has it been possible to catch more Fast-Evolving Luminous Transients (FELTs) and begin to understand them.


The FELT, captured in 2015, rose in brightness over just 2.2 days and faded completely within 10 days.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

According to a new study in Nature Astronomy, researchers say NASA's Kepler Space Telescope captured one of the fastest FELTs to date. Peter Garnavich, professor and department chair of astrophysics and cosmology physics at the University of Notre Dame and co-author of the study, described the event as "the most beautiful light curve we will ever get for a fast transient."

"We think these might actually be very common, these flashes, and we have just been missing them in the past because they are so fast," Garnavich said. "The fact that one occurred in the small area of the sky being monitored by Kepler means they are probably fairly common."

The FELT, captured in 2015, rose in brightness over just 2.2 days and faded completely within 10 days. Most supernovae can take 20 days to reach peak brightness and weeks to become undetectable.

Researchers debated what could be causing these particularly fast events but ultimately settled on a simple explanation: The stars "burp" before exploding and don't generate enough radioactive energy to be seen later. As the supernova runs into the gas expelled in the burp, astrophysicists observe a flash. The supernova then fades beyond their ability to detect it.

"Our conclusion was that this was a massive star that exploded, but it had a mass loss -- a wind -- that started a couple of years before it exploded," Garnavich described. "A shock ran into that wind after the explosion, and that's what caused this big flash. But it turns out to be a rather weak supernova, so within a couple of weeks we don't see the rest of the light."

The only visible activity is from the quick collision of the gas and the exploding star, where some of the kinetic energy is converted to light. One mystery that remains is why the "burp" would happen such a short time before the supernova explosion. Astrophysicists want to know how the outside of the star reacts to what's happening deep in the core, Garnavich said.

While the Kepler telescope and its K2 mission is expected to run out of fuel and end in the coming months, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is planned for launch following the K2 mission. Garnavich said data retrieved during the TESS mission could also be used to study FELTs.

###

The study was funded by NASA.

The study was led by Armin Rest at the Space Telescope Science Institute. Co-authors include Giovanni Strampelli, also at the Space Telescope Science Institute; David Khatami and Daniel Kasen at the University of California Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Brad E. Tucker, research fellow at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mount Stromlo Observatory and the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics; Edward J. Shaya, Robert P. Olling and Richard Mushotzky at the University of Maryland; Alfredo Zenteno and R. Chris Smith at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory; Steve Margheim at the Gemini Observatory; David James and Victoria A. Villar at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; and Francisco Förster at the University of Chile.

Media Contact

Jessica Sieff
jsieff@nd.edu
574-631-3933

 @ND_news

http://www.nd.edu 

Jessica Sieff | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers see 'warm' glow of Uranus's rings
21.06.2019 | University of California - Berkeley

nachricht A new force for optical tweezers awakens
19.06.2019 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IDMT demonstrates its method for acoustic quality inspection at »Sensor+Test 2019« in Nürnberg

From June 25th to 27th 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau (Germany) will be presenting a new solution for acoustic quality inspection allowing contact-free, non-destructive testing of manufactured parts and components. The method which has reached Technology Readiness Level 6 already, is currently being successfully tested in practical use together with a number of industrial partners.

Reducing machine downtime, manufacturing defects, and excessive scrap

Im Focus: Successfully Tested in Praxis: Bidirectional Sensor Technology Optimizes Laser Material Deposition

The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.

Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

'Sneezing' plants contribute to disease proliferation

24.06.2019 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Researchers find new mutation in the leptin gene

24.06.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>