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Big luck: astronomers were able to observe a live supernova

Big luck: astronomers were able to observe a live supernova

Astronomers are experiencing a moment like the one that historians experienced with the discovery of the Rosetta Stone: for the first time, by chance, it was possible to observe the end of a star in a supernova.

The star in question was located in the so-called butterfly galaxies, which are listed in astronomical catalogs as NGC 4567/8. It was also known to researchers for some time as a supernova candidate. Exactly when this will happen is unpredictable – it could happen tomorrow, or within a few hundred or thousands of years. In this regard, even the stars that have been identified as candidates are not constantly observable.

However, last year, the TESS space telescope was looking for darkened suns for a brief period, indicating the presence of exoplanets, which happened to be targeting the right place in the sky at the right moment and received data from an initial supernova. Within a very short time, many other instruments such as Hubble and other space telescopes were pointed at the star at a distance of 60 million light-years.

We hope to have a better forecast

Thus, the data to be collectedwhich was previously known only through simulations. In the past, only the consequences of supernova explosions were observed, in which an active star repels its shell and thus largely exhales its life. It’s getting close to a huge stroke of luck that with billions of visible galaxies you’re looking at the right point at the right moment.

Not only should the data help better understand the exact process of a supernova. The researchers also hope to gain more in-depth knowledge about features that can be used to better predict an impending star explosion than before. Perhaps in the future one will reach a point where relevant events can be predicted with a high degree of accuracy and the entire process can be recorded using the best tools available in each case.

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See also: Predicted 40 Years Ago: Discovery of a New Type of Supernova

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