Rare first moment of stellar explosion captured by amateur astronomer


Unprecedented observations by an amateur astronomer revealed the exact moment when a supernova became visible in the sky. The data allowed a team of researchers to test theoretical predictions about the initial evolution of such stellar explosions. Their models indicate that the dramatically rapid brightness rise observed was due to the emergence of the explosive shockwave at the star’s surface. Such a phenomenon, known as shock breakout had long been predicted by theory and was being sought for by several groups around the globe. It required a very lucky –- and watchful –- amateur astronomer to finally catch the moment. The results were published in Nature on February 22, 2018 by the Argentine team and colleagues from Japan, USA, and Europe including Dr. Masaomi Tanaka at CfCA/NAOJ.

Figure 1: Sequence of combined images obtained by Víctor Buso as SN 2016gkg arises in the outskirts of galaxy NGC 613. Labels indicate the time each image was taken. The supernova location is indicated by the red circles. Notably the supernova appears and stabrightens and steadily brightens within one hour, as shown in the lower-right panel.
Credit: Bersten et al.

Please see details of this research from the following link;
Rare first moment of stellar explosion captured by amateur astronomer (Kavli IPMU Press Release)

Paper Details

Title: A surge of light at the birth of a supernova
Authors: M. C. Bersten, G. Folatelli, F. García, S. D. Van Dyk, O. G. Benvenuto, M. Orellana, V. Buso, J. L. Sánchez, M. Tanaka, K. Maeda, A. V. Filippenko, W. Zheng, T. G. Brink, S. B. Cenko, T. De Jaeger, S. Kumar, T. J. Moriya, K. Nomoto, D. A. Perley, I. Shivvers & N. Smith
Journal: Nature
DOI: 10.1038/nature25151

For the use of contents in this website

  • Contents are to be used with a clear indication of its copyright (e.g. (c) NAOJ.)
  • If you would like to use the contents found in this web site, please follow Terms of Use of the Website of NAOJ.

Related links

Kavli IPMU press release: "A stellar explosion caught at birth"