By: Krishna R
We’ve found the remnants of an ancient supernova – what could this discovery mean?
A telescope in Western Australia recently discovered the remnants of a 9,000-year-old supernova. This discovery of the remnants of such an ancient supernova can tell us many things about the star that caused the supernova as well as the galaxy as a whole.
Let’s be real – we’ve all had a time in our lives when we were completely and utterly obsessed with everything space. I remember, ever since I was 6 I was amazed by what the cosmos held. And to this day, I remain astonished by this immensely vast and complex environment that surrounds our tiny little planet.
Supernovae are a common occurrence in the universe – with so many stars, it is obvious that the death of stars is commonplace. According to Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker, an astronomer, "When a star runs out of fuel, it starts to collapse downward because the radiation that would be generated from the fusion is no longer keeping it in a big sphere. Then that causes a huge thermonuclear explosion which throws off a massive shell of expanding material, and that moves very quickly, thousands of kilometres per second." This, to you and I, is a supernova.
Supernovae remain, by far, one of the most intriguing and dazzling phenomenon in the universe.
Around 9,000 years ago, somewhere in the Milky Way, a star decided to expire – leading to a massive supernova. Why is this relevant? Well, just a few days ago, the Murchison Widefield Array in Western Australia managed to find the remnants of this supernova. And the findings were spectacular.
The remnants observed.
This observation of the remnants expanded astronomers’ sample size of supernovae and has allowed them to research remnants that are bigger, older and fainter than remnants that have been found before.
Lyons, S. (2019, December 2). West Australian telescope finds 9,000-year-old supernova remnant. Retrieved December 9, 2019, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-12-02/supernova-remnant-astronomy/11740294.