Science

Supernova Discovery Hours After Blast Gives Amazing Details

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 16, 2017 03:00 AM EST

A star explosion has led to an interesting supernova discovery as it was recorded just hours after light from its eruption reached Earth. The blast's light measurements suggest a surprising discovery of the star rapidly belching gas right before it exploded. This is a major discovery for astronomers, debunking what they previously thought.

Most scientists think the first outward sign of a supernova is the explosion itself. But the information they gathered from the most recent star explosion gives amazingly rare details of the things that occur right before the blast. Scientists are getting closer to observing supernovas just as they are in the brink of dying.

Several years ago, to stumble across a supernova discovery would mean to detect it at several days, a week, or maybe more, after the explosion, says astrophysicist Ofer Yaron of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Now, “we talk about day one," he says. Recent technology have made it possible to study supernova in its earliest stages, helping scientists map out the exact mechanism of an exploding star, the Fox News reports.

Previous supernovas have been seen in its early stage, but this new observation is the earliest one with a spectrum. The way it broke up wavelengths with its light emission was recorded and measured six hours after the blast, Yaron and colleagues report online. The supernova known as SN 2013fs was detected on Oct. 6, 2013, using the data from the Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory based at the Palomar Observatory in California, the Science News reports.

It detonated about 160 million light-years away in a spiral galaxy called NGC 7610, which is relatively close to the Milky Way. This made it easier for scientists to aim more telescopes at it and detect signals from almost the entire of its spectrum of light. The supernova discovery was likely about 10 to 17 times heavier than the sun and several hundred times wider than the sun.

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