NASA has revealed ultra-rare footage of an 11-billion-year-old supernova.
The 1 minute and 39 second video shows three different moments of a distant supernova explosion.
A supernova is a violent explosion that occurs at the end of a star’s life cycle.
The star’s luminosity after the burst increases to millions of times its normal level and can cause it to shine brighter than its entire host galaxy.
Nasa used its Hubble Space Telescope to capture the images of this particular supernova in the Abell 370 galaxy cluster.
The supernova exploded more than 11 billion years ago – when the universe was less than 2 billion years old.
Nasa called the images the first detailed look astronomers have had at a supernova so early in the history of the Universe.
“It’s quite rare that a supernova can be detected at a very early stage because that stage is really short,” said Wenlei Chen, the first author of an article examining the supernova.
“It only lasts hours to a few days and can easily be missed even with a close detection. With the same exposure, we can see a sequence of images – like multiple faces of a supernova.”
This research could help scientists learn more about how stars and galaxies formed in the early Universe.
In addition, the supernova images reveal two other moments in the life of the supernova.
This was made possible by a phenomenon called gravitational lensing, first predicted by Albert Einstein.
The term describes when closer objects act like magnifying glasses for distant objects.
NASA went on to explain, “The immense gravity of the galaxy cluster Abell 370 acted like a cosmic lens, bending and magnifying light from the more distant supernova behind the cluster.”
“The warping also produced multiple images of the explosion over different time periods, all of which arrived on Earth at the same time and were captured in a Hubble image.”
Also visible in the photos is the rapid color change of the fading supernova, showing the change in temperature.
Blue colors mean hotter temperatures and redr colors represent cooler temperatures.
“You see different colors in the three different images,” said Patrick Kelly, study leader and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Physics and Astronomy.
“You have the massive star, the core is collapsing, it’s shocking, it’s heating up, and then you see it cool down over a week.”
“I think that’s probably one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen!”
https://www.thesun.ie/tech/news-tech/9706587/ultra-rare-nasa-video-three-faces-supernova/ An ultra-rare Nasa video shows “three faces” of an evolving 11-billion-year-old supernova