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
JUL 31, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 31, 2018
Underground Lake of Briny Water Detected on Mars
There’s seemingly endless evidence that water once flowed on the Martian surface, and in addition to that, many theories exist concerning the presenc...
AUG 13, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 13, 2018
Giant Star Sets Record for Lithium Composition, Researchers Say
While scanning far and wide with the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST), astronomers from the National Astronomical Observa...
SEP 02, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 02, 2018
International Space Station Crew Repairs Small Air Leak
The International Space Station is an Earth-orbiting laboratory that operates in the vacuum of outer space. That said, it needs to maintain a constant air...
OCT 15, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 15, 2018
Picking a Landing Site On Mars is No Easy Task
When space agencies like NASA send landers and rovers to other places in the solar system to explore, one of the most challenging questions they’re c...
OCT 30, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 30, 2018
NASA Officially Retires the Kepler Space Telescope
For more than nine-and-a-half years, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope helped curious astronomers on their quest to identify distant worlds. These words,...
NOV 04, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 04, 2018
Mass Destruction-Causing Solar Events Could Be Lurking Around the Corner
The Sun, the center of our planetary system, is always nurturing and providing. But when it is having a "bad" day, we on Earth could be taking so...
Loading Comments...