Astronomers turned back time to plot a stellar explosion

Although astronomers have observed the "debris" of many exploding stars in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies,

determine the timeline of the death of a star is quitedifficult. While studying the spectacular supernova remnants in a nearby galaxy with NASA telescopes, a team of astronomers have found enough clues to "turn back the clock."

Supernova remnant SNR 0519-69.0 (abbreviated as SNR 0519), is the debris of a white dwarf explosion. Having reached critical mass, either as a result of material being pulled out of a companion star or due to a merger with another white dwarf, the star was subjected to a thermonuclear explosion and was destroyed. Scientists use this type of supernova (Type Ia) for scientific research ranging from studying thermonuclear explosions to measuring distances to galaxies billions of light-years away. SNR 0519 is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy 160,000 light-years from Earth.

Astronomers combined data from the Chandra telescopes andHubble with data from NASA's former Spitzer Space Telescope. The goal is to determine how long ago the star exploded in SNR 0519 and learn about the environment in which the supernova exploded. The data will help scientists “rewind” stellar evolution and figure out how it all began.

The researchers compared the Hubble images for2010, 2011 and 2020 to measure the speed of the blast wave. Using simulations, they figured out that the light from the explosion reached Earth about 670 years ago. This is the time of the Hundred Years War between England and France and the heyday of the Ming Dynasty in China.

However, scientists admit that the release of materialslowed down since the initial explosion and the star exploded earlier. The Chandra and Spitzer data support this theory. In the future, astronomers will use additional Hubble observations to better determine when the star actually died.

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