Astronomers first noticed the emergence of a black hole or neutron star
The unusually bright disintegration of the star was captured through the telescope.
Cow secret: In June, an exceptionally bright object in the sky created an astronomical secret, named AT2018cow (a.k.a. "Cow"). Telescopes, based on the ATLAS survey in Hawaii, spotted a bright spot at a distance of 200 million kilometers, which quickly appeared and then disappeared a few days later. The researchers initially thought it was a supernova, but it was 10 to 100 times brighter than the typical supernova and was flashing faster from the sky.
Solving puzzle: As it was presented at today's conference of the American Astronomical Society, researchers from the Northwestern University believe that telescopes took the moment when the star collapsed and turned into a black hole or a neutron star.
Why could we see this? Usually, when the stars break up into the black holes, a huge amount of material that is pushed out blocks the view of the event on Earth. However, according to Raffaello Margutti of Northwestern, this star had about 10 times less material that fired, which allowed astronomers to see the interior. "The light bulb" was sitting deep inside the explosion, "says Margutti.
How did they find out: Instead of using telescopes covering visible light, the traditional methods of studying star deaths, the Northwester team also used X-rays, "heavy X-rays" (which are basically extremely strong X-rays), radio waves and gamma rays. to study the cow. This allowed them to continue to study the phenomenon even after the bright spot had darkened. With the first observations of creating a black hole or neutron star in hand, astronomers will be able to better understand what happens when the star dies, and an unusual new object comes into being.
- Raffaella Margutti / Northwestern University