Cataclysmic Collisions Caused A Strange Supernova

in STEMGeeks9 days ago

Detailed observation of the object VT 1210+4956 showed us a tragic history of a binary system of two massive stars. The first exploded as a supernova that left a black hole or a neutron star behind. This object then ate into the core of the second star causing it to go supernova early.


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Image by eli007 from Pixabay

When stellar objects collide it’s one heck of a show. Lately, astronomers tracked down evidence of a ruthless collision that ended the life of a binary system. In this particular case, a black hole or a neutron star collide with a star that then quickly went supernova.

As the research lead – Dillon Dong from Caltech says: scientists have previously predicted the existence of this type of supernova. It’s called merger-triggered core collapse supernova. Sadly, we haven’t seen it before. In the end, we discovered thanks to incredible detective astronomy. The first evidence was found in the data of the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS) a long-term sky observation using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA).

In the data from the year 2017, an object was discovered that was intensively shining in the radio wave part of the spectrum. And it wasn’t visible in previous images from the VLA. The object was named VT 1210+4956 and the researchers then observed it with VLA’s radiotelescopes. They found the object is located in a dwarf galaxy about 480,000,000 light-years away from Earth. The researchers also tracked down that back in 2014 the device MAXi onboard the ISS detected spurts of x-ray radiation that came from this object.

Dong and his colleagues took the data and composed them into a fascinating history of the final centuries of existence of this special binary star. Made from two massive stars born as a close binary system. One was more massive than the other and ended its short life as a supernova leaving either a neutron star or a black hole behind.

But these extreme remains weren’t in a stable orbit with the other star. It was slowly getting closer and closer. Then the remains finally entered the atmosphere of the other star creating sort of a “smoke-trail”. When finally, the neutron star or the black hole got into the core of the other star it disrupted nuclear fusion. The core of the star collapsed, shooting out polar jets of matter at near light speed. Soon after, the star blew up as a supernova.

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