A pair of stars located in a nearby galaxy has merged, forming an impressive supergiant star that powered a large-scale supernova event. The event was observed for the first time in 1987, but years of research were needed to trace the origins of the massive explosion.
The supernova was classified under the name of SN 1987A, and it occurred in an area of the universe that is known under the name of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Advanced simulations conducted by a team of Japanese researchers infer that a blue supergiant star produced the supernova.
Such a supernova event takes place when the core of a massive star becomes unstable due to the mighty gravitational force around it and collapses in on itself. A significant amount of energy is released in the process, stripping the outer layers of the star and leading to the appearance of a neutron star or a black hole.
Star Merger Unleashed An Impressive Blue Supernova
However, a surprising detail is represented by the fact that supernovas on such a scale tend to be associated with red supergiants, which are considerably more significant than the blue ones. The unusual nature of the progenitor stars has been a subject of discussion for several years.
Observations made with the help of X-ray and gamma-ray sensitive tools note the presence of radioactive nickel clumps in the matter, which was ejected by the star. The nickel accumulated in the core of the star during the collapse, and it was released when the explosion occurred. Ejected matter travels at an impressive speed of 4,000 kilometers per second, and previous theories could not explain the incredible speed.
This is the first binary-merger during which nickel clumps have been found after the supernova effect took place. One of the simulations produced near-identical clumps that were ejected by the stars. It is also thought that the missing neutron start may have been pushed away by the force of the explosion into the northern area where ejected material can be found.