Some of the biggest explosions in the universe
Astronomy News – Supernovas are some of the most powerful and visually striking events observed during the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time. Releasing more energy in a single moment than Sol will over its entire lifetime, a supernova is luminous enough to shine brighter in the night sky than entire galaxies during one moment in space and time, before slowly fading from view over several weeks or months. The force of a supernova expels a large percentage of a star’s mass into the darkness of space and time at about 10 percent of the speed of light and creates a shock wave that sweeps up the expanding shell of gas and dust released during the explosion referred to by astronomers as a supernova remnant.
Astronomers search for new supernovae
Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to search the night sky for active galactic nuclei (AGN), super-massive black holes at the center of galaxies, recently reported the discovery of a supernova smothered in the remnants of its own star-dust during their search. This has astronomers scratching their heads in amazement at something they have never viewed during the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time. Scientists think supernovas like this one probably occurred during the early universe, more than they do during present time, and this discovery has astronomers looking for answers to questions they never thought they would be asking.
Astronomers realised something was different
The recorded temperature of the object they were viewing was about 1,000 Kelvin (about 700 degrees Celsius), which is slightly hotter than the surface of Venus. This means something was dissipating the light energy of the supernova as heat? Astronomers wondered if the dust from the supernova could be choking off the light from the supernova and creating the heat they were viewing? Taking data from studies of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope astronomers worked backward in space and time to see if they could figure out what kind of star could have theoretically created this supernova and if they could recreate a scenario where the dust from a supernova obscures the universe from the light released during the supernova. They calculated that the star in this supernova would have to be a giant star at least 50 times as massive as Sol. Astronomers have viewed these types of stars releasing huge clouds of dust as they near the end of their lives, but they calculated this particular star probably released clouds of stardust several times during this same period of time. The last cloud of stardust expelled would, therefore, be closer to this massive star, than earlier released clouds of stardust, they reasoned. If the earlier dust cloud was also opaque, it would absorb the light energy released during later energy releases, and this could certainly account for the hot dust cloud they observed through NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.
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