Star That Vanished Might Be First Failed Supernova

At the end of their life, most stars would go out with a spectacular bang known as a supernova. Though supernovas are fairly common in the universe, they are still something to behold especially when seen with a telescope. A star quite recently seen, though, might be the first recorded to have failed to reach this stage in its life.

In 2009, the star N6946-BH1 suddenly became 1 million times brighter than our Sun. Then just as suddenly it seemed to have vanished. Before the event, H6946 is said to be a red supergiant with a mass 25 times more than the Sun, according to IFLScience. What was once in the place of the star is now a light six times fainter than it was before it became bright.

This has puzzled astronomers especially when it was reported on September 6 that observations from the Hubble Space Telescope suggested that the star did not survive. It is not yet clear what happened to it though it has been theorized that the star simply collapsed to become a black hole.

Once stars deplete its remaining fuel it explodes into a supernova, but some astronomers think that some stars might skip the supernova part and simply collapse in on itself, as Science News reports. That is likely what has happened to N6946-BH1.

"This is the first really solid observational evidence for a failed supernova," Elizabeth Lovegrove, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz said. She also added that some stars do fail as a supernova and would look like that of N6946-BH1.

The star might have been massive enough that the shock wave resulting from the star's collapse couldn't be strong enough to give it a big explosion. Instead of exploding the star continues to collapse until it leaves a black hole where it once was.

The glow left behind by the star is radiation coming from the debris left by the star. As the debris goes into the black hole they emit light and radiation. Caltech astronomer Scott Adams and his colleagues are waiting for the result from observations made by the Chandra X-ray Observatory in space to confirm if the star has collapsed into a black hole.

It could be that the star has indeed collapsed into a black hole, or else it might still be there hidden from the dust and debris that has formed since 2009. Confirmation of it might come later on once the dust has lessened.

Our universe still has much mystery in it, as can be seen with the recent iTechPost report that has two black holes causing a galaxy to go dark.

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