Supernova ejects material asymmetrically

A team of astronomers based in Europe has obtained a three-dimensional view of the innermost material released by a supernova ā€“ something never before seen. The researchers discovered a turbulent environment where stellar material is being ejected in a highly asymmetric fashion.

The subject of the study is Supernova 1987A (SN 1987A), located in the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud. Due to its proximity to the Milky Way, SN 1987A has caused a flurry of astronomical interest since it first appeared in 1987. It has been the basis for several remarkable observational “firsts”, including the detection of neutrinos released when its core collapsed, direct exploration of the radioactive elements present during the blast, and it revealed insights into how dust is formed during a supernova explosion.

This latest research, led by Karina Kjaer of Queen’s University, Belfast, looks at the geometry of the supernova blast. Kjaer worked with colleagues from the European Southern Observatory and Stockholm University, Sweden, to image the aftermath of the star’s explosion. This was done using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) fitted with SINFONI (Spectrograph for INtegral Field Observations in the Near Infrared). This equipment allowed the team to obtain detailed analysis of SN 1987A through use of its very high resolving ability and light filtering system………………………

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