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Death of a star! Amazing technology helps NASA turn back the clock from 160,000 light-years

Astronomers have narrowed the timeline of a distant star’s explosive demise using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Have you heard of exploding stars? Yes, the stars in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies are indeed exploding, and astronomers have even seen the debris of dozens of exploded stars. However, it is very difficult to determine or figure out the timeline of the star’s demise. But now NASA has said that by studying the spectacular remnants of a supernova in a neighboring galaxy using NASA telescopes, a team of astronomers has found enough clues to turn back the clock.

“By combining data from @ChandraXray, @NASAHubble and the retired Spitzer Space Telescope astronomers, astronomers have narrowed the timeline of a distant star’s explosive demise. This is how researchers are ‘turning back’ the clock from 160,000 light-years,” NASA tweeted. . According to the information, the supernova remnant called SNR 0519-69.0 is the debris of an explosion of a white dwarf star.

“After reaching critical mass, either by pulling matter from a companion star or fusing it with another white dwarf, the star underwent a thermonuclear explosion and was destroyed. Scientists use this type of supernova, called a type Ia, for a wide range of scientific studies, ranging from studies of thermonuclear explosions to measuring distances to galaxies over billions of light years,” the research organization said:.

It further states that SNR 0519 is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy 160,000 light-years from Earth. Astronomers combined data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope with data from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space telescope to determine how long ago the star exploded in SNR 0519 and to learn more about the environment in which the supernova occurred. .

This data gives scientists a chance to rewind the movie of stellar evolution that has played out since then and find out when it started. The researchers compared Hubble images from 2010, 2011, and 2020 to measure the velocities of material in the blast wave, which range from about 3.8 million to 5.5 million miles (9 million kilometers) per hour.

If the speed was at the higher end of those estimated speeds, the astronomers determined that the light from the explosion would have reached Earth about 670 years ago, or during the Hundred Years’ War between England and France and the height of the Ming dynasty in china .

However, it is likely that the material has slowed down since the first explosion and that the explosion occurred more recently than 670 years ago. Chandra and Spitzer’s records indicate that this is the case. Astronomers found that the brightest areas in remnant X-rays are where the slowest-moving material resides, and that no X-rays are associated with the fastest-moving material.

These results imply that part of the blast wave crashed into dense gas around the remnant, causing it to travel more slowly. Astronomers can use additional observations with Hubble to more accurately determine when the star’s set time really needs to be set.

Did you know?

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international collaboration between NASA and ESA. The telescope’s mirror-based optical system collects and focuses light from the universe for analysis by scientific and guidance instruments. The optical system, called the Optical Telescope Assembly (OTA), gives Hubble a unique view of the universe by collecting infrared, visible and ultraviolet light. However, it has been surpassed by the newer and more powerful James Webb Space Telescope.

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