AUG 18, 2016 10:37 AM PDT

Why Are Some Supernovae Brighter Than Others?

One of the brightest objects in the universe is a supernova, which is when a start collapses in on itself at the end of its life cycle and then puts off an incredibly bright show of light. Of course, it wouldn’t be the mystical universe if there wasn’t a bigger fish.
 

An artist's impression of a supernova.

 
Scientists have been studying the phenomenon of what they call ‘super luminous’ supernovae, which are actually even brighter than regular supernovae. In fact, they may just be the brightest things we know of in our universe. At this point in time, only about a dozen are known to exist.
 
Since they can actually get brighter than regular supernovae can, scientists are both interested and mystified by the mystery surrounding them.
 
In a recent study, which has been published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, scientists may have come up with a supportable reason for why super luminous supernovae get so bright.
 
After scientists used the Great Canary Telescope (GTC) to observe DEZ14X3taz, a hot spot for this kind of activity some 6.4 billion light years away from Earth, scientists were surprised to find that it had exhibited two peak luminous events, not one.
 
“We think that a very massive star, some 200 times the mass of the Sun, collapses to form a magnetar. In the process the first explosion occurs, which expels into space a quantity of matter equivalent to the mass of our Sun, and this gives rise to the first peak of the graph,” said lead scientist Mathew Smith of the University of Southampton.
 
“The second peak occurs when the star collapses to form the magnetar, which is a very dense object rotating rapidly on its axis, and which heats up the matter expelled from the first explosion. This heating is what generates the second peak in the luminosity.”
 
Because they put off so much more light than basic supernovae, a super luminous supernova can remain bright for up to six months, which compares to only a few weeks for a basic supernova. The sheer amount of energy is just so much higher when coming off of a super luminous supernova.
 
The longer light display and brighter intensity make super luminous supernovae easier to study, and in some cases, they can even be seen with the naked eye in the night skies.
 
Trying to understand how super luminous supernovae work is an important part of unlocking the mystery of the universe, as they are some of the most violent forces that occur in the entire universe. Of course, understanding that two explosions, not one, cause these massively-bright light sources is a great first step in understanding these rare phenomena.
 
Source: IAC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 12, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 12, 2018
NASA's Opportunity Rover Halts Scientific Operations Amid Martian Dust Storm
There’s a massive dust storm enveloping certain parts of Mars right now, and it just so happens that NASA’s Opportunity rover is stuck right in...
JUL 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 17, 2018
Astronomers Find 12 More Moons Orbiting Jupiter
Jupiter, with its immense gravitational influence over the solar system, has always possessed a rather excessive number of moons. But scientists now say th...
JUL 17, 2018
Videos
JUL 17, 2018
About That EM Drive Idea...
Traveling through space requires a lot of fuel, and this limitation defines just how far we can go. Physicists have been experimenting with the ‘impo...
AUG 21, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 21, 2018
Yes, There's Water Ice on the Moon
Researchers have continuously speculated that the Moon might harbor traces of water ice, but new observations conducted with NASA’s Moon Mineralogy M...
AUG 29, 2018
Neuroscience
AUG 29, 2018
Are Women's Brains Protected From Cosmic Rays?
Going to space is a dream for many. Astronauts are viewed almost as superheroes, but the dangers of space travel cannot be underestimated. On long trips, s...
SEP 05, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 05, 2018
What Would We Even Do If We Found Aliens?
Space agencies like NASA and the European Space Agency are exceptionally busy searching our solar system for evidence of otherworldly life, but do we know...
Loading Comments...