Scientists discover new type of supernova

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Jan 21, 2022, 09:00 AM(IST)

(Image: NASA) An image of Wolf-Rayet star Photograph:( Others )

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When these stars reach the end of their lifespan, they push out their outer layer forming extremely strong stellar winds. This affects the nebula in which they are located. It was previously thought that after shedding the outer layer, these stars quietly collapse and become black holes

Supernovas are explosions of big star which occur at the end of their life. The fuel that keeps the star glowing runs out and a massive explosion takes place. This is true for large stars, much bigger than the Sun. Scientists previously thought that not all large stars meet such a violent end and some quietly collapse to become a black hole.

But a new type of supernova has been detected and it is shaking previous assumptions. The star-type in question is Wolf-Rayet stars. These are one of the most massive known stars.

When these stars reach the end of their lifespan, they push out their outer layer forming extremely strong stellar winds. This affects the nebula in which they are located. It was previously thought that after shedding the outer layer, these stars quietly collapse and become black holes.

Supernovas have specific spectras, something like fingerprints. When these 'fingerprints' are found, scientists often point to the possibility of a supernova.

A spectrum obtained of supernova showed researchers that the nebula was expanding away from the star at the speed of 1500 km/s. They concluded that this was due to the strong stellar wind given off by a Wolf-Rayet star. The scientists thus associated the star type with the supernova upending the previous assumption that such stars do not erupt in gigantic celestial blasts.

The study has been published in Universe Today.

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