Astronomers Think They've Figured Out How to Predict When a Supernova Will Occur


A group of academics from Japan recently submitted an article to the journal High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena that discusses methods for observing and possibly forecasting precursor signatures for an explosion from Local Type II and Galactic supernovae (SNe).

This research has the potential to advance our knowledge of how and when supernovae—the plural of supernova—might originate throughout the universe (SN).



How crucial is it, though, to find supernovae before they go off?

 Daichi Tsuna, an astronomer at the University of Tokyo's Research Center for the Early Universe and the study's lead author, said, "From my perspective, it is important in two ways.

 "First, although we are aware that supernovae (SNe) are explosions that indicate the demise of huge stars, it is still unknown what occurs close to the end of their lives. In actuality, the traditional theory of star evolution does not predict the SN antecedents that have been suggested by recent observational research.

 According to our paper, further observations will allow us to examine this precursor in greater detail. This will help us better comprehend stellar evolution and hone the hypothesis that is now in place. Second, the discovery of an SN precursor will assist increase the time window available for coordinating multi-messenger (light, neutrinos, and gravitational wave) measurements. For the study, the researchers developed a theoretical model for such a discharge from a red supergiant star's mass outburst using the open-source programme CHIPS (Complete History of Interaction-Powered Supernovae).


This is noteworthy because the star Betelguese, whose brightness was noticed to dim in 2019 and led to speculation that it would go supernova, is likewise a red supergiant star. Betelguese is actually getting close to the end of its life, but according to a 2021 study, the explosion won't happen for another 100,000 years. What effects might this study have on Betelguese, though?

According to Tsuna, "Betelgeuse is a red supergiant, which is precisely the type of star we have investigated in our paper. Therefore, if Betelgeuse were to erupt very soon, it might exhibit this type of precursor emission immediately before the SN. Neutrino detectors may discover neutrinos emitted days before the SN since Betelgeuse is so close to us. Even before the SN explosion, we can perform multi-messenger astronomy!


 According to the study's findings, eruption light curves are fuelled by a quick shockwave pulse that lasts just a few days, followed by a much longer cooling discharge that lasts for hundreds of days.


 This time, known as the bound envelope pulling back, is followed by a dim peak period for lesser energy eruptions.


Such large-scale eruptions "may serve as early warning of a near-future nearby SN, which will be significant for multi-messenger investigations of core-collapse SNe," the study's conclusion reads. We have a bright future to identify these kinds of somewhat dim precursors, I would emphasise that, Tsuna stated.


"The Rubin Observatory, for instance, would make wide-field survey observations in a few years at sensitivity much deeper than current surveys. It could serve as a probe of the amazing final stages of the life of a giant star and is sensitive enough to really detect these kinds of emissions.

Reference: High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena

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