From all the fields of science, astronomy is one of them that seems to have no boundaries. This is due to the unfathomable distances that measure the Cosmos. You never know when a surprise occurs for those who are busy studying the stars and galaxies, and therefore an entire chapter in astronomy has to be rewritten.
The Hubble Space Telescope that’s operated by both NASA and ESA is once again the culprit for an incredible astronomic discovery. A gigantic star went from the radiance of 5 billion suns to practically nothing over the course of just a year.
70 million light-years away
Hubble’s operators were lucky to be able to spot the last days of a white dwarf that became the supernova known as SN 2018gv. The event is located 70 million light-years away in the scenic spiral galaxy known as NGC 2525.
NASA explained how the peculiar phenomenon was possible:
“When a star unleashes as much energy in a matter of days as our sun does in several billion years, you know it’s not going to remain visible for long,”
The space agency also declared: “More than just providing celestial fireworks, supernovae can be used as milepost markers to measure distances to galaxies,”
“This yardstick is needed to calculate how quickly galaxies appear to be flying apart from one another, which in turn provides an age estimate for the universe.”
Whether we like it or not, the Hubble Space Telescope will be retired soon enough. The James Webb Telescope will take its place in October 2021 if it all goes according to the plan. However, Hubble still had very notable achievements during its three decades of activity: it discovered that nearly all galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their center, it had contributions that led to the conclusion that the Universe is 13.8 billion years old, and many others.