Mystery stellar explosion may have marked unusual death of carbon-rich starJune 2nd, 2009 - 2:14 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, June 2 (ANI): A new research by astrophysicists at the University of Warwick, UK, has discovered that a mystery stellar explosion recorded in 2006 may have marked the unusual death of an equally unusually carbon-rich star.
The strange object, known as SCP 06F6, was first noted in 2006 by supernovae researchers in the US taking images with the Hubble Space Telescope, seeing it appearing out of nowhere, and fading again into oblivion, over the course of 120 days.
The US team published their observations in September 2008, drawing a blank on the nature of SCP 06F6, in particular it was unclear if this event happened in our cosmic backyard, or at the other end of the universe.
Now, a team of astrophysicists and astronomers at the University of Warwick in the UK believe they have come up with an answer.
According to their research, the observations of SCP 06F6 bear remarkable resemblance to a group of stars containing extremely large proportions of carbon, hence dubbed carbon stars.
However, to achieve the close match, SCP 06F6 must be at a distance of around 2 billion light years, causing a considerable redshift in its appearance.
Given the large distance, the sudden appearance of SCP 06F6 is most likely related to the sudden death of a carbon-rich star, and the Warwick team believes that this object may be a new type of a totally new class of supernova.
It would be an unusual type of supernovae in several aspects. SCP 06F6 is located in a blank part of the sky, with no known visible host galaxy.
If the star did explode as a normal type II supernova, why then did it take up to four times as long to brighten and diminish as other such supernova and why did emit up to 100 times more X-rays energy than expected?
The X-ray energy might lead one to speculate that the star was ripped apart by a black hole rather than exploding on its own. (ANI)
Tags: astrophysicists, black hole, carbon stars, close match, cosmic backyard, host galaxy, hubble space telescope, light years, redshift, remarkable resemblance, rich star, stellar explosion, strange object, sudden appearance, sudden death, supernova, university of warwick, university of warwick uk, x ray, x rays