Highest resolution images of Supernova 1987A reveal its secrets
Washington: Astronomers have succeeded in observing the death throes of a giant star in unprecedented detail.
In February of 1987 astronomers observing the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy, noticed the sudden appearance of what looked like a new star. In fact they weren`t watching the beginnings of a star but the end of one and the brightest supernova seen from Earth in the four centuries since the telescope was invented.
By the next morning news of the discovery had spread around the globe and southern hemisphere stargazers began watching the aftermath of the enormous stellar explosion, known as a supernova.
In the two and a half decades since then, the remnant of Supernova 1987A has continued to be a focus for researchers the world over, providing a wealth of information about one of the universe`s most extreme events.
In a new research, a team of astronomers by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) has succeeded in using the Australia Telescope Compact Array, a CSIRO radio telescope in New South Wales, to make the highest resolution radio images of the expanding supernova remnant at millimeter wavelengths.
"Imaging distant astronomical objects like this at wavelengths less than 1 centimeter demands the most stable atmospheric conditions. For this telescope these are usually only possible during cooler winter conditions but even then, the humidity and low elevation of the site makes things very challenging," said lead author, Dr. Giovanna Zanardo of ICRAR, a joint venture of Curtin University and The University of Western Australia in Perth.
Unlike optical telescopes, a radio telescope can operate in the daytime and can peer through gas and dust allowing astronomers to see the inner workings of objects like supernova remnants, radio galaxies and black holes.
"Supernova remnants are like natural particle accelerators, the radio emission we observe comes from electrons spiraling along the magnetic field lines and emitting photons every time they turn. The higher the resolution of the images the more we can learn about the structure of this object," said Professor Lister Staveley-Smith, Deputy Director of ICRAR and CAASTRO, the Center for All-sky Astrophysics.
Scientists study the evolution of supernovae into supernova remnants to gain an insight into the dynamics of these massive explosions and the interaction of the blast wave with the surrounding medium.
"Not only have we been able to analyze the morphology of Supernova 1987A through our high resolution imaging, we have compared it to X-ray and optical data in order to model its likely history," said Professor Bryan Gaensler, Director of CAASTRO at the University of Sydney.
The team suspects a compact source or pulsar wind nebula to be sitting in the center of the radio emission, implying that the supernova explosion did not make the star collapse into a black hole. They will now attempt to observe further into the core and see what`s there.
The research has been published in the Astrophysical Journal.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- BBV: What challenges lie ahead of Modi govt?
- DNA analysis of rising water crisis in India!
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow
- Check mahresult.nic.in for Maharashtra HSC Result 2015 to be announced at 1 pm on May 27
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi
- Reservation stir: Five percent job quota to Gujjars unlikely, hints Rajasthan govt