October 23, 2021

Daily Best Articles

Get The Latest Update Here

The Requiem Supernova, Already Imaged By Hubble, Will Make A Reappearance In 2037


When massive stars reach the end of their lives, they either turn into red giants, or explode in spectacular fashion and become a neutron star or black hole, or in some cases, simply rip themselves to pieces.

These spectacular explosions are called supernovae – powerful and incredibly bright explosions that shine brighter than most stars.

Humans have observed hundreds of supernovae over the years, but only for the third time are we observing the same supernova twice after a time interval. According to NASA, the Requiem supernova will make another appearance somewhere near 2037.

Due to an effect known as gravitational lensing – similar to a lens made of glass bending light to magnify a distant image – a giant galaxy cluster, directly in front of the supernova, known as MACS J0138.0-2155 is acting as a giant zoom lens. Light passing through the galaxy cluster is being magnified and distorted, and split into multiple copies. Each copy is giving us “multiple reruns of the same show”.

The aging Hubble space telescope first captured the spectacular fiery death event that was Requiem in 2016. Not one, but on three different snapshots.

 

Three snapshots capturing the same event, observed by Hubble Space Telescope in 2016. (Credit: Hubble/Steve A. Rodney)

The supernova is approximately 10 billion light-years away from earth, while the light from the galaxy cluster took about four billion years to reach Earth. The first three instances of the supernova’s appearance were captured by Hubble in an arc-like pattern scattered across the galaxy cluster. The images are each a snapshot of the supernova at different times after the explosion.

Steve Rodney, lead researcher for the Hubble project says that whenever light passes near a very massive object, a galaxy cluster, the warping of space-time that Einstein’s theory of general relativity tells us is present for any mass, delays of light around that mass. He added, that the particularly long delay between the third and fourth snapshots is due to the concentration of dark matter in the centre of the galaxy cluster.

Cover Image: Shutterstock



Source link