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NASA's Hubble Telescope Captures Death Throes of Massive Star Before it Turned to Supernova

Image via NASA.

Image via NASA.

As the blast was missing hydrogen, scientists are of the view that the star must have lost its gaseous layer in the years leading up to its end.

Massive stars experience a violent end which usually results in a glaring explosion. Scientists have spent years studying the death throes of stars before they explode. They have always been intrigued by what happens to stars just before they blast until they captured the images of a massive one before it turned into a supernova. The images of this unusual event have been helping scientists to solve this mystery piece by piece. As per a report in CNN World, a team of scientists had been using NASA Hubble Space Telescope to keep a close eye on the massive star since 2019 before it exploded. The star was located 35 million light-years away from Earth in the Virgo galaxy cluster.

As per Charles Kilpatrick, the lead study author for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics in Illinois, it was a cool yellow star. He revealed these cool yellow stars are usually surrounded by hydrogen at the end of their lives that covers the heated blue interior of the star. However, this star revealed a different phenomenon when it blasted. It was missing the hydrogen layer because the blast emitted a lot of blue light.

As the blast was missing hydrogen, scientists are of the view that the star must have lost its gaseous layer in the years leading up to its end. “It’s rare to see this kind of star right before it explodes into a supernova," said Charles.

Charles revealed that when the star exploded, it seemed like a very normal hydrogen-free supernova but it didn’t match what was already known about this type of occurrence. Scientists have also discovered a large hydrogen mass accumulated in the local environment. They believe that this was the missing hydrogen that was thrust out of the star before it blasted.

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This star’s discovery has helped astronomers prove various theories that suggest the stars undergo violent eruptions or death throes in the years leading them to supernovas. Because of these eruptions, they lose mass and are likely to expel hydrogen several decades before they explode. These new finding will help astronomers discover other stars and supernovas in the Universe.

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first published:May 06, 2021, 09:39 IST