Astronomers have found the brightest and largest ever supernova that left scientists absolutely stunned. A collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory want to study more.
What is a Supernova?
A supernova is a very powerful and bright explosion of a dying, massive star that’t at least five times the mass of the sun. People from NASA state that enormous stars burn large amounts of nuclear power in their cores, which in turn makes the center extremely hot. Then the heat generates outward pressure, stoping the star from collapsing.
But, that pressure has something to fight against, as a star’s gravity tries to compact it into the smallest tightest ball possible. When a star runs out of energy and thus heat, the pressure declines and gravity takes over. Then the stars fall down creating shock waves that cause the outer part of the star to blow up.
A Rare Object from Outer Space
Researchers spotted this bright supernova back in 2016 using data from Rapid Response System and Panoramic Survey Telescopes. They also used, Pan-STARRS which is located at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii and consists of various telescopes. Furthermore, researchers used astronomical cameras and a computing facility that continually surveys the sky for rare objects.
Then the research team started measuring the new discovered supernova by using two scales. The total energy of the explosion and the radiation. The interesting part is ,light emitted in ordinary supernovae is usually less than 1% of the total energy. But this supernova, called SN2016aps, which is the year they spotted the nova, radiated more than five times the explosion energy of a typical supernova. After, seeing the explosion for two years, scientists found the mass of the star to be between 60 to 110 times greater than the sun. Usually, a normal-sized supernova is between eight to 15 times more.
The supernova, at first was thought to be alone in a big, empty space. Something that astronomers had to follow more. However, as it turns out, the supernova only appeared without celestial neighbors because it outshone its own host galaxy. So far, the galaxy in which the explosion was found doesn’t have a name yet. But at the moment, astronomers know the galaxy is about four billion light years away.