Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Buenos Aires, Argentina (4E) – Amateur Argentinian astronomer Victor Buso has become the first person to record the rare first light from a newly exploding pre-supernova.
The light from the pre-supernova located in the spiral galaxy NGC 613 in the constellation Sculptor took some 40 million light years to reach Earth. Buso, 58, first spotted the explosion designated SN 2016gkg on Sept. 20, 2016 using a high-powered telescope mounted above his home.
A locksmith by profession, Buso was able to spot a tiny bright speck that wasn’t there previously, and the speck was getting brighter. He recorded the surprising behavior of the star after seeing the tiny blip eventually blossomed into a supernova.
Scientists said the odds of stumbling upon a pre-supernova event such as this is about 1 in 10 million, and it’s never been recorded before in the history of astronomy.
“Professional astronomers have long been searching for such an event,” said astronomer Alex Filippenko of the University of California Berkeley.”Observations of stars in the first moments they begin exploding provide information that cannot be directly obtained in any other way.”
Other astronomers then began to record their own observations. Assisted by Buso’s incredibly early sighting, they were able to determine what kind of star had created the supernova. They believe the star was a supergiant some 20 times the mass of our own sun.
Researchers were also able to create computer models to simulate how the spectacular event unfolded. The research was published in the multidisciplinary scientific journal, Nature.
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