Supernova in nearby galaxy


Composite X-ray/optical/radio image of the supernova remnant W49B. The structure and composition of this remnant hints that it was a gamma ray burst – one of the most violent explosions known – and likely harbors a black hole at its center.


A giant star with radius 200 times larger than our sun, exploded into a supernova, 30 million years ago. Although it was one of the closest to Earth explosions in recent years, its distance was large enough that the light from the explosion took 30 million years to arrive to us. The massive explosion was visible from the Earth as a point like in the night sky, starting July 24th, 2013.

The massive star had an original mass of about 15 times that of our sun. As it burnt its fuel it reached the point at which its core couldn’t support its gravitational force, it collapsed and then exploded. The material was ejected from the star at a speed of 10,000 kilometers a second or equivalently 36 million kilometers an hour.

Analyzing the data from the explosion that NASA’s Swift satellite collected, scientists can derive useful information about the nature of supernovae. They were able to measure the supernova’s evolving temperature, its mass and the abundance of chemical elements in its explosion, among other things, improving our knowledge about the existence and sudden death of supernovae.


Publication: Dhungana et al. 2016