An amateur astronomer has caught the first photos of a star exploding

by Edgar Hayes February 23, 2018, 3:32
An amateur astronomer has caught the first photos of a star exploding

The light generated by the first hours of that supernova explosion could potentially reveal much about the structure and makeup of a star's surface just before it died. "This result suggests that it is appropriate to decouple the treatment of the shock propagation from the unknown mechanism that triggers the explosion".

But the amateur astronomer didn't want to disturb his neighbours with the loud noise of opening his rooftop observatory, so he pointed his telescope through a gap in the enclosure on the night of 20 September 2016. He spotted a brightening light near a spiral arm while observing a series of short-exposure photographs.

But so far, the supernova's behavior seems to match with the expectations of the astronomers, who have also shown interest in studying the SN 2016gkg further, so that they are able to dig deeper and find out more precisely about such stellar "deaths". Soon, the world was looking at the supernova SN 2016gkg using telescopes and observatories studying various aspects of the fallen star as well as different wavelengths. The powerful waves heat the gas presence on the dead star and emit light termed as shock breakout that Buso has captured.

Sadly for the discoverer of the supernova, scientists have selected "SN 2016gkg" as an identifier for the object.

This was primarily due to the fact that stars explode at random in the sky, and most of these bursts are fleeting.

With the help of a friend, Buso immediately reported his discovery to the International Astronomical Union, a body of professional astronomers.

Melina Bersten, researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de La Plata, CONICET - UNLP, Argentina, and Visiting Associate Scientist at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe has said the chances of capturing such an event are slim, because it lasts for the order of one hour.

Luckily for professionals and experts in the field, the new revelations can now provide important insights into the star's physical nature right before its explosive demise, as well as the nature of the explosion itself.

"Observations of stars in the first moments they begin exploding provide information that can not be directly obtained in any other way", the astronomer added.

An amateur astronomer based in Argentina captured a brightly lit star around a galaxy.

"To our surprise, images had a great quality considering they were obtained from the middle of a large city in the midst of the pampas", notes Dr. Gasto?n Folatelli from IALP, who led the data analysis, and adds "sky conditions seem to have been almost ideal on that night!"

But not only was the one-in-billions shot caught, it was caught by an amateur astronomer, testing the new camera on his 16-inch telescope.

It's like winning the cosmic lottery.

The team estimate the star had a mass likely 20 times that of the sun, although had shrunk to "only" 5 times before meeting a violent end.

UC Berkley astronomer, Alex Filippenko, and his excited colleagues were able to obtain spectra and derive the composition of the star as well as the nature of the explosion.

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