Indian researchers have observed a very bright, fast-evolving hydrogen-deficient supernova, sparking energy from a fascinating neutron star with a very strong magnetic field. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) said that deep study of such ancient cosmic bodies can reveal the earliest mysteries of the universe.
Superluminous supernovae are very rare
A supernova is a powerful and bright stellar explosion that releases a large amount of energy. These types of supernovae, called superluminous supernovae (SLSNe), are extremely rare. DST said this is because these are usually ejected from very massive stars (whose minimum mass limits are more than 25 times that of the Sun).
The number distribution of such massive stars in the Milky Way is very small.
The number distribution of such massive stars in our galaxy is very small. Of these, SLSNE-1 has been counted in about 150 spectroscopically confirmed events so far. It said that these ancient objects are the least understood supernovae because their underlying sources are unclear and also because of their extreme luminosity.
Study was going on in lockdown
The department said that Supernova 2020 was first discovered by the Jwicki Transient Facility on January 19, 2020. Its study was being done by scientists of Aryabhatta Observational Science Research Institute (Ariz), a research institute under DST, since February 2020. Then in March and April during the lockdown caused by the corona virus.
Help from Devasthal Optical Telescope
It said that the apparent appearance of the supernova was similar to that of other objects in the region. However, once the luminosity was estimated, it turned out to be an extremely blue object indicating its optical characteristic. The department said the team observed this with special arrangements at the recently brought into service in India, the Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT-3.6M) as well as two other Indian telescopes – the Sampoornanand Telescope-1.04M and the Himalayan Chandra Telescope 2.0M.
Outer layers of supernova with onion-like structure descended
DST reported that scientists found that the outer layers of the supernova, which has an onion-like structure, had come off and its interior was glowing from a borrowed energy source. The study is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
[Attribution to NBT]