2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Supernova Remnant 1E 0102.2-7219, taken with a telescope
Astronomers used images from the Hubble telescope to determine when the supernova exploded, creating the nebula 1E 0102.2-7219. It turned out that the outbreak on Earth was observed about 1, 7 thousand years ago - however, the researchers did not find historical records of this event. The work, accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal, was presented at the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The preprint is available at arXiv.org.
After a supernova explosion, a nebula is left around, consisting of the substance of a once existed star and interstellar material that absorbed the shock wave. By observing the movements of gas streams, astronomers can reconstruct the course of events and find out not only where the supernova exploded, but also when it happened.
A snapshot of a supernova remnant taken in 2006
John Banovetz and his colleagues investigated 1E 0102.2-7219 (E0102), the brightest supernova remnant in the Small Magellanic Cloud, located 200 thousand light-years from Earth. To pinpoint when the outbreak occurred, astronomers, using images taken by the Hubble Telescope, analyzed the movement of gas in the residual nebula over the past 19 years.
The researchers selected 22 of the fastest moving clumps (their average speed was about 3.2 million kilometers per hour), which are least likely to slow down when passing through the interstellar medium. Then they traced the movement of the clumps in the opposite direction, until the emissions combined at a single point, indicating the location of the explosion. Once it became known, scientists were able to calculate how long it took for the clots to reach their current location.
According to new estimates, a supernova was visible on Earth about 1,700 years ago. However, only residents of the southern hemisphere of the planet could observe it, but no historical records of this event have been found to date. In addition, the researchers determined the speed at which the neutron star was ejected during the explosion. It was about three million kilometers per hour.
Astronomers rarely manage to "catch" the moment when a supernova burst begins, but they have recently been able to do so with the Kepler telescope. Thanks to this, they were able to test existing theories.