Describing Supernova



March 5, 2022

Manaksha Memon describes a fantastic phenomenon of Describing Supernova

The describing supernova universe is full of wonderful phenomena that never lack fascination for human beings. The remarkable details of the never-ending explorations in this wide field are evolving bringing to fore mind-boggling results. In this context one of the most visible entities is known as supernova describing what happens when a star has reached the end of its life and explodes in a brilliant burst of light. Supernovae can briefly outshine entire galaxies and radiate more energy than our sun will in its entire lifetime and they are also the primary source of heavy elements in the universe. They are also defined as the cause of largest explosion that takes place in space. The Crab Nebula, arguably the most famous supernova, was first spotted by Chinese and Korean astronomers who recorded this star explosion in their records in 1054.
The term supernova was first used by Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky at Mount Wilson Observatory who used it in relation to an explosive event they observed, called S Andromedae located in the Andromeda Galaxy. The scientists suggested that supernovas happen when ordinary stars collapse. On average, a supernova will occur once every 50 years in a galaxy the size of the Milky Way, meaning that a star explodes every 10 seconds or so somewhere in the universe. About 10 million years ago, a cluster of supernovae created the “Local Bubble,” a 300-light-year long, peanut-shaped bubble of gas in the interstellar medium that surrounds our solar system.
Exactly how a star dies depends in part on its mass. Our sun does not have enough mass to explode as a supernova. Though the news for Earth still is not good because once the sun runs out of its nuclear fuel, perhaps in a couple billion years, it will swell into a red giant that will likely vapourise our world, before gradually cooling into a white dwarf. But with the right amount of mass, a star can burn out in a fiery explosion. A star can become supernova in one of two ways: Type I supernova: star accumulates matter from a nearby neighbour until a runaway nuclear reaction ignites and type II supernova star runs out of nuclear fuel and collapses under its own gravity.
Type I supernovae lack a hydrogen signature in their light spectra and are generally thought to originate from white dwarf stars in a close binary star system. As the gas of the companion star accumulates onto the white dwarf, the white dwarf is progressively compressed and eventually sets off a runaway nuclear reaction inside that eventually leads to a cataclysmic supernova outburst. Astronomers use Type Ia supernovae as standard candles to measure cosmic distances because all are thought to blaze with equal brightness at their peaks. Type Ib and Ic supernovae also undergo core-collapse just as Type II supernovae do but they have lost most of their outer hydrogen layer. In 2014, scientists detected the faint, hard-to-locate companion star to a Type Ib supernova. The search consumed two decades, as the companion star shone much fainter than the bright supernova.
For a star to explode as a Type II supernova it must be several times more massive than the sun and estimates in this regard estimates run from eight to 15 solar masses. Like the sun, it will eventually run out of hydrogen and then helium fuel at its core. However, it will have enough mass and pressure to fuse carbon. Next, gradually heavier elements build up at the center and the star forms onion-like layers of material, with elements becoming lighter toward the outside of the star. Once the star’s core surpasses a certain mass, it begins to implode. For this reason, these Type-II supernovae are also known as core-collapse supernovae.
Eventually the implosion bounces back off the core, expelling the stellar material into space, forming the supernova. What’s left is an ultra-dense object called a neutron star, a city-sized object that packs the mass of the sun in a small space. Type II supernova sub-categories are classified based on their light curves which describes how the intensity of the light changes over time. The light of Type II-L supernovae declines steadily after the explosion while the light of Type II-P supernovae stays steady for a longer period before diminishing. Both types have the signature of hydrogen in their spectra. Stars much more massive than the sun, around 20 to 30 solar masses, might not explode as a supernova, astronomers think. Instead they collapse to form black holes.
Describing Supernova is now found out that supernovae vibrate like giant speakers and emit an audible hum before exploding. In 2008, scientists caught a supernova in the act of exploding for the first time. What was expected to be seen was a small glowing smudge of a month-old supernova but what was seen instead was a strange, extremely bright, five-minute burst of X-rays. Describing Supernova was the first instance when astronomers caught a star in the act of exploding. This is rated as an unusual event, to be better understood in terms of an object lying at the boundary between normal supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. TW

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Manaksha Memon is a social worker devoted to social causes


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