30 years ago, an astronomer from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)theorized that a neutron star was created after the explosion of the supernova 1987A. Today, this theory has been proved by a group of European scientists who observed the phenomenon through the ALMA telescope.
In 1987, Dany Page Rollinet from the UNAM’S Astronomy Institute (IA), along with a group of researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute, predicted, through numerical numbers, the existence and appearance of this stellar remnant, for neutron stars are born as a consequence of the explosion of giant stars, such as supernovae.
Supernovae are known for their size, they surpass the Sun’s mass for over eight times, and tend to die in an explosion. Neutrons are the residue of these stars, as explained by Rollinet through the UNAM’s General Direction of Social Communication (DGSC).
Nowadays, scientists from the University of Cardiff, in the United Kingdom, made the discovery with the help of the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), located in Chile, thanks to which they were able to examine the excess of brightness in a dust bubble at the central debris of the remnant.
The discovery was published in The Astrophysical Journal. According to Page’s experience, one of the consequences caused by a supernova explosion is the creation of a black hole or the creation of a neutron star.
Among neutron stars, there are also pulsars, a King of supernova remnant that are detected thanks to the emission of pulses (100 pulses per second); nevertheless, the neutron star discovered by Page was not a pulsar since it did not emit pulses.
The expert explained that, in order to emit pulses, the neutron star must have a highly strong magnetic field. “In this case, there was a lot of matter that fell over the star some hours after the explosion.” After this, the magnetic field of the star was covered and thus the emission of pulses was not possible, he mentioned.
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“New observational studies have not detected the pulses because the star does not have a magnetic field,” said the UNAM academic.
Moreover, he said that “what can be seen at this distance is a tiny bubble, only ALMA has the capacity to see it although it is actually a thousand times bigger than the Earth’s orbit. It is a large gas bubble, but from 175,000 light-years away, it is a barely detectable small point.”
The remnant of the supernova 1987A, comprised of dust and debris, is equivalent to 200,000 times the Earth’s mass, added Page, and he determined that studying the later stages of this kind of event is not easy, for they take place every 50 years, according to the time in our galaxy, and it is highly complicated to be able to observe them.
Since the explosion was registered, three decades ago, there were several international efforts to detect the residues of the explosion. “Now, we have a solid argument to affirm the residue is a neutron star,” asserted Page.
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