In space, found a bomb

22.11.2009

Astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered cosmic bomb — a binary system in which one of the partners, the white dwarf, is preparing to explode. The article appeared in the scientific journal The Astrophysical Journal, and its summary can be found at ESO. Preprint of the paper can be found at arXiv.org.


Clouds of dust around V445. ESO Photo

 

As part of the work of scholars interested in the object V445, located at a distance of 25,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Feed. Photos of the region of space in high resolution can be found here. In November 2000, the brightness of the object increased by 250 times — a new star was born. In this case, the emission spectrum of the object is almost completely absent hydrogen, which is not typical for new ones.

Further observations of V445 with complex optical telescopes VLT possible to determine that the scientists are not just a new star, and preparing to become a type Ia supernova object.

The fact that V445 is a binary system which consists of a conventional star white dwarf. Dwarf stealing matter from a neighbor, gradually gaining ground. At the same time, at some point, when the mass exceeds a certain limit (the Chandrasekhar limit), an explosion of a supernova. However, if the density of matter around dwarf becomes too high, the shell start the reaction, which may lead to explosions. Such emissions observed by scientists in 2000.

According to the researchers, the observed object not only provides a unique opportunity to observe preparations for the explosion of a supernova, but also help to answer the question: how quickly after such explosions dwarfs re-gaining weight.

The complex consists of eight VLT telescopes. Four 8.2-m have their own names: Antu, Kuyen, Melipal Yepun and that the language of the Mapuche means "sun", "moon", "Southern Cross" and "Venus." Another four 1.8 meter telescope proper names do not have. All tools are located at an altitude of 2.6 km above sea level.
 

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