Universe

Supernova 1987 A. The Stars

Supernova 1987 A. The Stars

The supernova is a rare event. In each galaxy they usually explode every 200 years. In these explosions, most of the mass of the original star is released at high speeds. For a few days, the supernova radiates the same energy as during its entire life, coming to shine more than the set of stars that reside in its galaxy. Over the years, the remnant of the supernova will spread, creating a nebula.

The explosions that signal the end of a massive star are called type II supernovae. There is another case, those of type I, which involves the action in a system of two stars that are orbiting and whose detonation is brighter. One of these stars must be a white dwarf. When the pair is close enough, the white dwarf starts stealing from her partner. The problem is that when the white dwarf reaches 1.4 solar masses, it dies of indigestion in a large burst.

The supernovae that happen in our own galaxy are a spectacle, since they become visible to the naked eye with a brightness that can be seen during the day. Unfortunately, and as already mentioned, it is an unusual phenomenon. Among the most famous supernovae are the year 1054 AD, registered by the Chinese. Johannes Kepler, contemporary and colleague of Galileo, recorded one of these nearby supernovae in 1604 before the invention of the telescope. Since then we have not seen any in the Milky Way, but in 1987, a star appeared in the southern skies being visible to the naked eye. It was the supernova SN 1987 A (A, for being the first of the year) and was located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, one of the satellite galaxies of the Milky Way.

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