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Astronomers capture the violent death of a red supergiant star for the first time

A new study says ASTRONOMERS has witnessed the ‘violent death’ of a red supergiant star for the first time.

Scientists also observed the final days of the star before the big bang turned it into a supernova, according to the finding published in the Astrophysical Journal on January 6.

This original artwork depicts a red supergiant star about to explode

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This original artwork depicts a red supergiant star about to explodeSource: WM Keck Observatory / Adam Makarenko

The star was first discovered by researchers from Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley in the summer of 2020.

The team used the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS telescope atop the Haleakalā Observatory in Maui to observe the star, which data concluded is ten times more massive than our Sun.

To their surprise, however, a few months later, the researchers discovered that the automated telescope had indeed captured the star’s death.

The observations also revealed a lot of dense stellar matter floating around the star during the explosion.

Wynn Jacobson-Galán, astrophysicist at UC Berkeley and lead author of the study told USA TODAY: “The death of a star this massive, it’s very dramatic and very violent.

To date, the supernova is the largest explosion that humans have ever witnessed.

They usually occur when the pressure in stars 8 to 12 times larger than our sun drops low enough for gravity to suddenly take over, causing the star to collapse within seconds.

In the past, humans have only witnessed the aftermath of supernovas – this often looks like gas and other leftover debris that was ejected into space after an explosion – so observe This is very monumental for astronomers.

“This is a breakthrough in our understanding of what massive stars behave in the moments before they die,” Jacobson-Galán said in a statement.

He added: “The direct detection of pre-supernova activity in a red supergiant has never been observed before in an ordinary Type II supernova. For the first time, we demonstrate ant an exploding red supergiant star”.

Jacobson-Galán also notes that he’s excited about what this new study could reveal about the future evolution of stellar and massive stars.

The Pan-STARRS telescope is located at the Haleakalā Observatory in Maui .

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The Pan-STARRS telescope is located at the Haleakalā Observatory in Maui .Credit: Getty
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https://www.the-sun.com/tech/4463171/death-red-supergiant-star/ Astronomers capture the violent death of a red supergiant star for the first time

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