Title: Astronomers Discover Link Between Star Death and Birth of Black Holes or Neutron Stars
Astronomers have made a groundbreaking discovery that connects the death of a massive star and the birth of a black hole or neutron star. This newfound connection was revealed through the study of supernova wreckage designated as SN 2022jli, located 75 million light-years away in the galaxy NGC 157. Two teams of scientists employed the high-powered Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the innovative New Technology Telescope (NTT) to unravel the peculiar traits exhibited by this cosmic event.
One of the most distinctive characteristics observed in SN 2022jli is the regular “jumping” in brightness occurring every 12 Earth days. Researchers believe that this unusual pattern is caused by a black hole or neutron star passing through the atmosphere of a surviving star within the supernova wreckage, stealing matter in the process. This phenomenon marks the first direct evidence linking supernovas to black holes or neutron stars, a monumental discovery within the field of astrophysics.
During the 243rd American Astronomical Society meeting held in New Orleans, Ping Chen from the Weizmann Institute of Science presented the findings. Chen highlighted that the supernova SN 2022jli is part of a binary star system, with the companion star enduring the explosion of its stellar sibling. The explosive event created a swelled-out layer of material that the black hole or neutron star passes through, resulting in periodic flashes of brightness as energy is released.
Although the presence of a black hole or neutron star in SN 2022jli is not directly visible, researchers confirmed their existence through the theft of matter and energy from the companion star. However, there are still many unresolved mysteries surrounding this supernova system, which future telescopes like the Extremely Large Telescope, currently under construction, could help investigate.
The groundbreaking research on this missing link supernova and the connection to black holes or neutron stars has been published in both Nature and the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The discoveries made by astronomers have opened a new chapter in the understanding of the cosmic life cycle, shedding light on the intricate relationship between stellar deaths and the birth of these enigmatic celestial objects.