Astronomers have found evidence that proves a 40-year-old supernova theory correct and a mysterious sky event that occurred in 1054 AD.
A new study has been published in Nature Astronomy and outlines researchers finding evidence of a new type of supernova. When stars die, they go supernova, and for some time, astronomers believed that there were only two types of supernova. Type Ia, is when a white dwarf star explodes in an uncontrolled fusion reaction. Type II supernova - when a star 10 times the mass of the Sun exhausts its fuel resulting in its core collapsing into either a black hole or a neutron star.
Now, astronomers have located a new type of supernova called electron capture (type III) supernova. This type of supernova happens when the a star eight to ten times the Sun's mass burns up all of its fuel, resulting in gravity causing immense pressure on the core's electrons that are then forced into their atomic nuclei. The end result is a core that collapsed in on itself.
The discovery of this type of supernova has provided an idea proposed back in 1980 by Ken'ichi Nomoto of the University of Tokyo. Additionally, the researchers said the discovery explains a mystery recorded in Chinese and Japanese records from 1054 AD. Records indicated that a bright light was visible in the sky for 23 days, and at night it was visible for two whole years. Researchers believe what people were observing was an electron-capture supernova.
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