From Ethan Siegel: “A New Hope For Our Galaxy’s Next Supernova”

Starts with a bang
Starts with a Bang

Ethan Siegel

NGC 6357 and the star cluster Pismis 24 inside NASA ESA IAA Spain
NGC 6357 and the star cluster Pismis 24 inside NASA ESA IAA Spain

Will it be Betelgeuse? Eta Carinae? Here are some candidates that are less popular, but perhaps more likely!


Eta Carinae
Eta Carinae

“Some of them burn slow and long, like red dwarfs. Others — blue giants — burn their due so fast they shine across great distances, and are easy to see. As they start to run out of fuel, they burn helium, grow even hotter, and explode in a supernova. Supernovas, they’re brighter than the brightest galaxies. They die, but everyone watches them go.” -Jodi Picoult

There are many ways to make a supernova, but one is by far the most common: when ultra-massive stars run out of fuel in their cores, which collapse.

These massive stars, 8–20 times the mass of the Sun and up, are the bluest, hottest and shortest lived, found only in young, newly star-forming regions.

One such region, NGC 6357, is a huge nebula that radiates brightly in many different wavelengths. The infrared highlights the warm gas that’s heated by new stars, while the “dark gaps” are where the intense ultraviolet radiation has ionized and evaporated the gas away. The neutral gas also reflects visible light, highlighting its fragmented, filamentary structure. Southeast of the nebula lies a huge cluster of some 800 young stars, while inside the nebula, uncounted proto-stars still grow inside.

Most responsible for ionizing this nebula is the massive cluster Pismis 24, containing at least nine O [type] stars, each 20 or more times the mass of the Sun and guaranteed to die in a Type II supernova.

This includes Pismis 24–1, originally thought to be 300 times our Sun’s mass, but now known to house at least four separate stars inside.

See the full article at the link below for some spectacular images.

See the full article here .

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“Starts With A Bang! is a blog/video blog about cosmology, physics, astronomy, and anything else I find interesting enough to write about. I am a firm believer that the highest good in life is learning, and the greatest evil is willful ignorance. The goal of everything on this site is to help inform you about our world, how we came to be here, and to understand how it all works. As I write these pages for you, I hope to not only explain to you what we know, think, and believe, but how we know it, and why we draw the conclusions we do. It is my hope that you find this interesting, informative, and accessible,” says Ethan