The upper left panel shows a color composite image of the galaxy that holds SN 2018oh. This picture was taken…
Astronomers studying a violent stellar explosion have witnessed a unique supernova phenomenon which is as nothing they have seen before.
Researchers discovered the supernova, known as ASASSN-1
8bt (or SN 2018oh), this February. And during the early stages of the star explosion, researchers saw an unusual beam of light. New analysis of this unique supernova can help researchers gain insight into the still unclear process of how the stars die and explode.
SN 2018oh is a type 1A supernova, a thought created from a white dwarf, a star of a star after it has used all its fuel. Type Ia supernova occurs when materials from a neighboring star are added to the white dwarf, but exactly how this mechanism works is still a mystery to astronomers.
These types of supernuts are important because they create many of the common elements in the cosmos and also because astronomers use them to measure cosmic distances.
SN 2018oh was discovered with a variety of telescopes gathered at Ohio State University, where astronomers scan the sky for cosmic explosions as part of the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS SN). NASA’s Kepler space telescope simultaneously observed the supernova to gather supporting data.
Supernovae usually emit light in a gradually increasing amount, so seeing a sudden light beam was extremely unexpected.
This release could have been created by the collision between the exploding white dwarf and its companion star, previous research has suggested.
However, SN 2018oh’s follow-up data do not match predictions of how this looks like, the Carnegie astronomer Tom Holoien, a member of the team who discovered and now studying the supernova, said in a co-statement. “Other possibilities, such as an unusual distribution of radioactive material in the exploded star, are a better explanation of what we saw. More observations of ASASSN-18bt and earlier discoveries like this will hopefully help us differentiate between different models and better understand the origins of these explosions, “Holoien raised.
So potentially, this emission could have been created by radioactive material distributed unexpectedly in the exploded star. However, as Holoien explained, more observation and analysis is required before a formal conclusion can be reached about this supernova.
These findings support recent work from the Carnegie Supernova project, suggesting that there may be two different types of Ia supernova variations, some showing this type of early release and some that do not.
“Nature always finds new ways to surprise us and unique observations that are good for motivating creative new approaches to how we think of these explosions,” Carnegie Anthony Piro, who analyzed the strange emissions, said in the statement.
These results are published in three dissertations in The Astrophysical Journal and The Astrophysical Journal Letters can find them here, here and here.)