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Astronomers capture death of star

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    http://www.theage.com.au/technology/sci-tech/astronomers-capture-death-of-star-20130402-2h5as.html Astronomers capture death of star Date April 3, 2013 a.. a..
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2013

      Astronomers capture death of star

      Date April 3, 2013
      The 1987A supernova.

      The 1987A supernova.

      Scientists in Australia have captured the most detailed images yet of the death of a giant star.

      A team of astronomers led by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Western Australia has revealed new images of the death throes of Supernova 1987A, whose demise was first spotted more than 25 years ago.

      Situated on the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, SN1987A expired about 168,000 light years from Earth.

      In new research published in the Astrophysical Journal, a team of astronomers from Australia and Hong Kong has succeeded in using the Australia Telescope Compact Array, a CSIRO radio telescope in NSW, to make the highest-resolution images yet of the expanding supernova.

      Dr Giovanna Zanardo, lead author of ICRAR, a joint venture between Curtin University and the University of WA in Perth, said using the radio telescope had allowed unprecedented details to be captured.

      "Unlike optical telescopes, a radio telescope can operate in the daytime and can peer through gas and dust allowing astronomers to see the inner workings of objects like supernova remnants, radio galaxies and black holes," Dr Zanardo said.

      SN1987A was the closest observed supernova for nearly four centuries, when it was spotted by a team of astronomers observing the Large Magellanic Cloud.

      The sudden appearance of what looked like a new star turned out to be the spectacular end of an old one.

      The remnant of the supernova has continued to be a focus for researchers worldwide.

      Professor Lister Staveley-Smith, deputy director of ICRAR, said the more detailed pictures would provide more clues to how and why stars died.

      "The higher the resolution of the images, the more we can learn about the structure of this object," Professor Staveley-Smith said.

      The ICRAR team said from studying the images they now suspect the supernova explosion did not make the star collapse into a black hole.


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