Amazing! Mythical supernova found! Can reveal the origin of universe | Tech News

Amazing! Mythical supernova found! Can reveal the origin of universe

Astronomers have discovered a supernova explosion that might belong to a mythical star.

| Updated on: Sep 29 2022, 16:05 IST
Supernova discovery! NASA James Webb Space Telescope takes the crown AGAIN with this photo
1/5 The James Webb Space Telescope has only been in operation for a few weeks but it has already made stellar discoveries. Now, it has amazed the world once again by detecting its first Supernova. (NASA)
2/5 A supernova is the extremely bright, super-powerful explosion of a massive dying star and the biggest explosion that humans have ever seen. According to a report by Inverse, “Astronomers spotted something unusual happening in a distant galaxy in recent images from the James Webb Space Telescope — something that wasn't there when Hubble last looked at the same galaxy.” (NASA)
3/5 This is an amazing feat considering the James Webb Space Telescope wasn’t even built for discovering supernovas. The detection of supernovas is usually done by large-scale survey telescopes that skim a vast portion of the space at short intervals. (AP)
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4/5 Mike Engesser, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute told Inverse, "We think that stars in the first few million years would have been primarily, almost entirely, hydrogen and helium, as opposed to the types of stars we have now. They would have been massive — 200 to 300 times the mass of our sun, and they would have definitely lived a sort of 'live fast, die young' lifestyle. Seeing these types of explosions is something we haven't really done yet.” (AFP)
5/5 In a period of five days, the supernova which is called SDSS.J141930.11+5251593 was observed by the James Webb Telescope twice. This discovery may help NASA scientists to understand the universe better and more deeply over a period of time. (NASA)
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Mythical supernova of a Population III star might solve the mystery of the origin of the universe? (NASA)

Space is filled with mysteries beyond our imagination. And one such mystery is the origin of universe. Scientists have multiple theories about it but all of them are hypothetical and exist only in theory. In fact, there are many theories about the origin of universe, some based on science and others based on beliefs. Over the years, we have found evidence that has given us confidence in these theories but we are yet to discover conclusive evidence of it. But now thanks to the Gemini Near-Infrared Spectrograph (GNIRS) of the 8.1-meter Gemini North telescope, a team of astronomers have discovered something which could potentially give us a conclusive direction for the origin of the universe. And it all comes down to a massive supernova from a mythical Population III star.

Astronomer find supernova traces that might be tied to elusive Population III star

It all began when a team of astronomers took the help of the Gemini North telescope located on the island of Hawai'i to analyze a quasar in the far end of the universe. The curiosity was built after they saw a strange chemical signature around the object. A closer look at the chemical signature revealed a high ratio of iron to magnesium. The deduction was that the debris had to belong to a star which could be 300 times the size of the Sun. But that was not the interesting part.

The scientists knew they were looking at a supernova event. A supernova is a powerful and luminous explosion of a star. It takes place in large stars after they lose a substantial amount of mass from constant nuclear fusion. As a result, the size increases but the pressure inside the star drops critically. This triggers the collapse of the core of the star and a huge explosion takes place. Supernovae are considered to be the greatest combustion reaction in the universe.

However, a supernova leaves behind a white or black dwarf. This one only left gaseous debris behind. This led the team to suspect that what they were witnessing could be a pair-instability supernova. But humans have never been able to see a pair-instability supernova and its existence is merely a theoretical topic. Another mystery around it is that such supernovae are only caused by Population III stars, which is also something we have never seen before.

Star Population is a way of categorizing the stars. They come in three categories and are divided on the basis of metallicity in their composition. The leading theory is that the less metal a star has the older it was in terms of the age of the universe. Logic is simple that since newer stars are formed by older stars or the material left behind them, and all stars undergo nuclear fusion, the concentration of metals will be higher the younger a star is. It should be noted that for the purpose of classification, all elements bar Hydrogen and Helium are considered to be metal.

So, the Sun would be an example of a Population I star because it has a high amount of metals and is a considerably young star. Population II stars are older and as a result are found on the edge and halo of galaxies. A Population III star is extremely massive, luminous and hot with virtually no metals. These stars are hypothesized to be the first stars after the birth of the universe itself. So these stars are direct products of the big bang explosion.

If the assertion is correct, this is a huge nod towards the theory of the big bang as the possible origin of the universe.

“It was obvious to me that the supernova candidate for this would be a pair-instability supernova of a Population III star, in which the entire star explodes without leaving any remnant behind. I was delighted and somewhat surprised to find that a pair-instability supernova of a star with a mass about 300 times that of the sun provides a ratio of magnesium to iron that agrees with the low value we derived for the quasar,” Yuzuru Yoshii, research co-author and University of Tokyo astronomer, told

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First Published Date: 29 Sep, 15:30 IST