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"Missing" Neutron Star Hidden in Supernova After 32-Year Search



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A neutron star, shrouded in gas and dust from an exploded star, played the winning stealth game.


University of Cardiff

When a giant star exploded in a supernova 32 years ago, it was supposed to leave an incredibly dense, collapsed nucleus known as the neutron star. A huge explosion called Supernova 1987A, however, dispersed gas and dust into space like a toddler throwing pasta around his high chair – a chaotic affair. In addition, all the dust obscured our view of the neutron star, but with sharp new images, astronomers finally found the zombie star's hiding place. A study published in the November 19 Astrophysical Magazine used the Atacama Large Millimeter / Subillimeter Array (ALMA) to investigate a dense cloud of dust surrounding the Supernova 1987A, located in the Great Magellanic Cloud about 168,000 light-years from Earth.

Astronomers, looking through dense cosmic smog, were able to find a piece of dust that they thought contained a neutron star. said in a press release Phil Cigan, astronomer at Cardiff University and the first author of the study. "Its light was shrouded in a very dense cloud of dust that blocks direct light from a neutron star at many wavelengths, such as the fog obscuring the spot light."

with the Horizon Telescope Event to capture the very first black hole image earlier this year . Scientists used this series to observe the sub-millimeter wavelengths of light that helped pull off the dust curtain of a hidden star.

Supernova 1987A first appeared in February 1987 and provided researchers with one of the best examples of cosmic phenomena. eventually revealed a ton of knowledge about the life of giant stars, what happens when it collapses, and what the afterlife looks like.

Astronomers have designed several fates of a star in the center of a supernova as a result of heroes hiding and searching for a neutron star. Other scientists have suggested that further collapse may lead to a black hole or an unusual type of star known as the "quark star," which is full of exotic particles and strange physics.


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