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The leftovers from a spectacular supernova that revolutionised our understanding of how stars end their lives have finally been spotted by astronomers at Cardiff University.
The scientists claim to have found evidence of the location of a neutron star that was left behind when a massive star ended its life in a gigantic explosion, leading to a famous supernova dubbed Supernova 1987A.
Years - Astronomers - Neutron - Star—the - Core
For more than 30 years astronomers have been unable to locate the neutron star—the collapsed leftover core of the giant star—as it has been concealed by a thick cloud of cosmic dust.
Using extremely sharp and sensitive images taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, the team have found a particular patch of the dust cloud that is brighter than its surroundings, and which matches the suspected location of the neutron star.
Findings - Astrophysical - Journal
The findings have been published in The Astrophysical Journal.
Lead author of the study Dr. Phil Cigan, from Cardiff University's School of Physics and Astronomy, said: "For the very first time we can tell that there is a neutron star inside this cloud within the supernova remnant. Its light has been veiled by a very thick cloud of dust, blocking the direct light from the neutron star at many wavelengths like fog masking a spotlight."
Dr - Mikako - Matsuura - Member - Study
Dr. Mikako Matsuura, another leading member of the study, added: "Although the light from the neutron star is absorbed by the dust cloud that surrounds it, this in turn makes the cloud shine in sub-millimetre light, which we can now see with the extremely...
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