Kilonova: Hubble detected a massive star explosion

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Kilonova: Hubble detected a massive star explosion

Supernovas, while impressive, are not exactly new to the scientific community. It is the result of the natural cycle of many stars, which collapse and die in their final phase. For this reason, surprising space explorers are quite an achievement – which does not mean that such scientists do not go to great lengths to witness unprecedented facts. While analyzing data collected by the Hubble telescope, one group came across a new category of explosion: the kilonova.

According to NASA, kilonovas are created by the collision between two neutron stars, the nuclei of stars that are withering away. This generates so much energy that it has a brightness 100 million times more powerful than that of the sun – and even creates black holes. The surprise in this case is related to the absurd emission of infrared radiation, which is not justified by traditional explanations of gamma-ray bursts.

Wen-fai Fong, the leader of the analysis, explains, “Given what we know about the radio and the X-rays from this explosion, it just doesn’t add up. The infrared emission we found with Hubble is very bright. In this puzzle a piece does not fit well. “

Plus, he says, if the equipment weren’t watching the event at that point, the team would never be able to detect it. That is why they are not sure what to do with the information.

Something wrong is not right

Tanmoy Laskar, co-author of the study, said that from the moment the data came in, those involved focused on unraveling the mechanism responsible for the emission of the light in question, but that over time, new approaches were needed.

“Once we received the observations, we had to change our way of thinking because we realized we should ignore conventional analysis. Something new was happening. Then it was up to us to find out what that meant for the physics behind these highly explosive explosions. energetic, ‘says the scientist.

Ultimately, the researchers say, it is possible that the “victims” of the collision may have created a magnetar – a very massive neutron star with a high-intensity magnetic field. This hypothesis, they say, would justify the strange readings, but there is no certainty without additional information – it may take years to re-emerge.

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