A team of astronomers have observed what they believe to be a neutron star emerging after a supernova first discovered in 1987, in a Milky Way satellite galaxy 170,000 light-years from Earth, called SN 1987A.
So far, astronomers weren’t sure if the neutron star survived the powerful event and collapsed on its own to form a black hole – but a new paper published last week in Astrophysical Magazine suggests he may have survived after all.
This means that the neutron star would be a millennium old, no older than 33.
If confirmed, it would be the newest neutron star known to mankind, as well astronomy reports. To date, the youngest supernova remnant is 330-year-old Cassiopeia A, about 11,000 light-years from Earth within the Milky Way.
Analyzing high-resolution images from the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) Array in Chile, a team of astronomers was able to take a closer look at what was left after SN 1987A.
They found a hot “shock” inside the core of the supernova, presumably a cloud of gas engraving the neutron star. The star itself would be too small to be detected directly, as it is extremely small and dense – measuring 1.4 times the Sun within a sphere that is only 15 miles away.
“We were very surprised to see this warm darkness made of a thick cloud of dust in the supernova remnant,” Mikako Matsuura of Cardiff University, who made the discovery with ALMA, said in a statement.
The discovery by the ALMA team supports the new theoretical study published last week.
“There must be something in the cloud that has ignited the dust and made it shine. That is why we suggested that there is a neutron star hidden inside the clouds of dust, “Matsuura added.
“Despite the supreme complexity of a supernova explosion and the extreme conditions that reign inside a neutron star, the discovery of a warm dust cloud is a confirmation of some predictions,” said lead author Dany Page, an astrophysicist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. explained in the statement.
According to computer models, the neutron star would have been sent screaming through space hundreds of miles per second. The location where the ALMA team found it is exactly where it would be today, according to the models.
The theoretical star was also found to be extremely bright, in large part thanks to the hypothetical temperature of about five million degrees Celsius.
It will take time until the existence of the star can be confirmed. The dust and gas around the supernova must be submerged further for astronomers to say with certainty that the extremely young star really exists.
READ MORE: Hot ‘Blob’ tells of a neutron star dormant in Supernova 1987A[[[[astronomy]
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