Scientists observe the largest exploding star yet seenMarch 24th, 2009 - 2:20 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, March 24 (ANI): Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science and San Diego State University have observed the largest exploding star yet seen, which is the size of 50 suns.
While exploding stars, called supernovae, have been viewed with everything from the naked eye to high-tech research satellites, no one had directly observed what happens when a really huge star blows up.
Dr. Avishay Gal-Yam of the Weizmann Institutes Faculty of Physics and Professor Douglas Leonard of San Diego State University recently located and calculated the mass of a gigantic star on the verge of exploding, following through with observations of the blast and its aftermath.
As they continued to track the spectacular event, they found that most of the stars mass collapsed in on itself, resulting in a large black hole.
Their findings have lent support to the reigning theory that stars ranging from tens to hundreds of times the mass of our sun all end up as black holes.
Until now, none of the supernovae stars that scientists had managed to measure had exceeded a mass of 20 suns.
Gal-Yam and Leonard were looking at a specific region in space using the Keck Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii and the Hubble Space Telescope.
Identifying the about-to-explode star, they calculated its mass to be equal to 50-100 suns. Continued observation revealed that only a small part of the stars mass was flung off in the explosion.
According to Gal-Yam, most of the material was drawn into the collapsing core as its gravitational pull mounted.
In subsequent telescope images of that section of the sky, the star seems to have disappeared. In other words, the star has now become a black hole so dense that light cant escape. (ANI)
- Astronomers witness biggest star explosion yet - Dec 03, 2009
- Discovery of new type of supernova may shed light on mysteries of universe - May 22, 2010
- Star that was 1 mln times brighter than Sun before exploding as supernova - Mar 23, 2009
- NASA telescopes discover most distant galaxy cluster - Jan 13, 2011
- Era of first fast growth of the most massive black holes determined - Dec 28, 2010
- Radio telescopes to try taking first photo of black hole - Jan 16, 2012
- Milky Way's smallest black holes 'don't exist' - Nov 22, 2010
- Astronomers find 'defiant' new supernova - May 20, 2010
- Astrophysicists discover 12 oldest supernovas - Oct 05, 2011
- Scientists zoom in on infant solar system - Jun 12, 2010
- NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory finds youngest nearby black hole - Nov 16, 2010
- Astronomers stumble on massive black holes - Dec 07, 2011
- NASA finds giant ring of black holes - Feb 10, 2011
- 'Magnetar' discovery challenges stellar evolution, black hole theory - Aug 19, 2010
- Chandra images show result of star formation on overdrive - Jan 14, 2011
Tags: 100 suns, black hole, black holes, diego state university, exploding star, exploding stars, gigantic star, gravitational pull, hubble space telescope, keck telescope, mauna kea, naked eye, professor douglas, research satellites, san diego state university, spectacular event, telescope images, verge, weizmann institute of science, yam