Once thought to be the brightest supernova ever recorded, the intense flash in the center of a distant galaxy has more sinister roots: It was a star being blended by a monster black hole. Supermassive black holes are known to occupy the cores of the vast majority of galaxies, eating any material — dust, gas, stars, planets, aliens — their host galaxies can provide. But they rarely eat quietly. As graphically demonstrated in a galaxy some 4 billion light-years away, an unfortunate star strayed too close to the rapidly-spinning supermassive black hole in its galaxy’s center, becoming a stellar smoothie of sorts. Continue reading A Rapidly Spinning Black Hole Was Seen Killing a Distant Star
The shockwave generated by the explosion of an ageing giant star has been observed by an international team of astronomers. The discovery, accepted for publishing in the Astrophysical Journal, will help scientists understand the life cycle of stars, said study co-author Brad Tucker of the Australian National University. Continue reading Astronomers See Supernova Shockwave for First Time
Through the use of a monster telescope attached to a modified Boeing 747 jet, astronomers have discovered the dust of an ancient supernova near the center of the Milky Way.
This finding is unique in that it was thought the turbulent nature of an expanding supernova explosion should destroy this dust, but its presence provides a fascinating insight as to why many galaxies appear to be dust-rich, adding critical detail to star and planet-formation theories. Continue reading Ancient Supernova ‘Dust Factory’ Found in Galactic Core
An ancient supernova that was serendipitously captured in four Hubble space telescope images thanks to a naturally occurring cosmic magnifying lens has reappeared, as astronomers predicted.
The exploded star, known as Refsdal in honor of Norwegian astronomer Sjur Refsdal, first appeared in November 2014. Scientists were stunned to find four images of the supernova around a galaxy, a configuration known as an “Einstein Cross.” Continue reading Hubble’s ‘Einstein Cross’ Supernova Strikes Back