Collegiate Class Catches Stellar Explosion!

October 21, 2011 at 9:22 PM (astronomy topics, curious research, current news, extraterrestrial studies, historic review, late night studies, science and technology)

A supernova has to be such a spectacular sight!  Stars are blowing up regularly, at different areas of the galaxy, and indeed throughout the universe.  They do serve as robust reminders of how life does come to and end.  Yet, if you are going to go out with a bang, then what better way to do it?

An astronomy class at The University of Delaware had the fortune to get an image of an exploding star within M101, The Pinwheel Galaxy.  While on a study trip to their campus’ affiliated Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory, the class took advantage of the time alloted to use the telescope.  It was during this time that they observed an occurring supernova!

This supernova is the end-stage of the star PTF 11kly.  It is classified as a Type 1a supernova, meaning that it is a part of a binary star system.  Of the two stars within this system, one is a g-class / main sequence star, and the other is a white dwarf star.  This kind of supernova goes so that the white dwarf pulls energy from it’s larger partner, reaching a point when it is at a critical mass.  This leads to the star collapsing, then producing the explosion of a supernova.

The excessive levels of fusion within the core of this type of star creates the energy for the stellar blast.  As intense amounts of carbon and oxygen combine, the excessive energy becomes too great to be maintained by the star.  Thus, an explosion, a supernova, occurs!

PTF 11kly was discovered in 1781.  The French astronomer Pierre Mechain was the initial reporter of it’s existence.  It is located within our constellation-classification of Ursa Major, which contains The Big Dipper, This stellar conglomeration is some twenty-one million light years away from us.  The Type 1a supernova was first photographed August 23, 2011, at The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), and it is getting brighter!

Supernova Picture

SEE THESE SITES!!!…ptf-11kly_n_952485.html (video)




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