News By/Courtesy: Abhipsha Datta | 07 Apr 2021 19:06pm IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Indian astronomers have detected a rare supernova explosion and traced it to Wolf–Rayet stars.
  • These stars are at least 20 times more massive than the Sun and thousand times more luminous.
  • The original star was a combination of two stars.

The Ministry of Science and Technology disclosed in a statement, that, Indian astronomers have detected a rare supernova explosion and traced it to one of the hottest sets of stars called Wolf–Rayet stars or WR stars. Based on NASA’s research, Wolf-Rayet stars indicate a final burst of activity before a huge star ceases to exist. These stars are at least 20 times more massive than the Sun and thousand times more luminous. When they explode as supernovas and seed the universe with cosmic elements is when they garner the most attention. Wolf-Rayet stars are rare, powerful luminous stars distinguished by spectra with sharp emission lines. These unusual spectra were first observed in 1867 by two astronomers, Charles Wolf and Georges Rayet at the Paris Observatory. However, the conclusion of how these spectra were produced was not attained until the mid-twentieth century. The more gigantic a star is, the shorter its lifespan, and Wolf-Rayet stars are amongst the largest and shortest-lived stars known. Wolf-Rayet stars are infrequent, with less than 200 known in our galaxy. Although due to their intense luminous characteristics, these stars are traceable, with ostensible magnitudes ranging from 9 - 12. These spectra appear more striking in contrast to main-sequence stars, highlighting the strong emission lines peaking above their spectra, rather than the weak absorption lines in typical stellar spectra. A squad of four astronomers from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), which is an autonomous institute under India’s Department of Science & Technology, conducted the optical observation of one such stripped-envelope supernova called SN 2015 alongside 16 other scientists from various institutes located in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and Korea. Mridweeka Singh, who was part of ARIES when the supernova discovery was made in 2015, teamed up with three other astronomers, Kuntal Misra, Anjasha Gangopadhyay, and Raya Dastidar who cumulatively formed the team working on this project. The supernova, that occurred in the galaxy NGC 7371, was spotted in the year 2015, and thereafter, the team observed it for a period up to 170 days. The team calculated the mass of the star that disintegrated to form the supernovae as well as the geometry of its ejection. The Astrophysical Journal published a study stating that the scientists also discovered that the original star was a combination of two stars—one of them being a massive WR star and another, a star much less in mass than the Sun. 

 

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Section Editor: 5thVoice.News | 09 Apr 2021 1:49am IST


Tags : #supernova #WRstars

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