Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



Stellar Firework In A Whirlwind

Colour-composite image of the Type Ia supernova SN 2006dr in the spiral galaxy NGC 1288, as observed with ESO's Very Large Telescope. It is based on images acquired through several filters (B, V, R, I and H-alpha) for a total exposure time of 5 minutes. The supernova is the bright object visible to the left of the centre of the galaxy. Many distant galaxies are also seen in the vicinity of NGC 1288, of which some are behind. The data were acquired by ESO's Paranal Science team. The final image was made by Henri Boffin (ESO). Desktop available 1360x768 and 1024x768
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (SPX) Sep 05, 2007
Stars do not like to be alone. Indeed, most stars are members of a binary system, in which two stars circle around each other in an apparently never-ending cosmic ballet. But sometimes, things can go wrong. When the dancing stars are too close to each other, one of them can start devouring its partner. If the vampire star is a white dwarf - a burned-out star that was once like our Sun - this greed can lead to a cosmic catastrophe: the white dwarf explodes as a Type Ia supernova.

In July 2006, ESO's Very Large Telescope took images of such a stellar firework in the galaxy NGC 1288. The supernova - designated SN 2006dr - was at its peak brightness, shining as bright as the entire galaxy itself, bearing witness to the amount of energy released.

NGC 1288 is a rather spectacular spiral galaxy, seen almost face-on and showing multiple spiral arms pirouetting around the centre. Bearing a strong resemblance to the beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 1232, it is located 200 million light-years away from our home Galaxy, the Milky Way. Two main arms emerge from the central regions and then progressively split into other arms when moving further away. A small bar of stars and gas runs across the centre of the galaxy.

The first images of NGC 1288, obtained during the commissioning period of the FORS instrument on ESO's VLT in 1998, were of such high quality that they have allowed astronomers [1] to carry out a quantitative analysis of the morphology of the galaxy. They found that NGC 1288 is most probably surrounded by a large dark matter halo. The appearance and number of spiral arms are indeed directly related to the amount of dark matter in the galaxy's halo.

The supernova was first spotted by amateur astronomer Berto Monard. On the night of 17 July 2006, Monard used his 30-cm telescope in the suburbs of Pretoria in South Africa and discovered the supernova as an apparent 'new star' close to the centre of NGC 1288, which was then designated SN 2006dr. The supernova reached magnitude 16, that is, it was about 10 000 times fainter than what the unaided eye can see.

Using spectra obtained with the Keck telescope on 26 July 2006, astronomers from the University of California found SN 2006dr to be a Type Ia supernova [2] that expelled material with speeds up to 10 000 km/s.

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
ESO
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


Neutron Stars Warp Space-Time
Ann Arbor MI (SPX) Aug 30, 2007
Einstein's predicted distortion of space-time occurs around neutron stars, University of Michigan astronomers and others have observed. Using European and Japanese/NASA X-ray observatory satellites, teams of researchers have pioneered a groundbreaking technique for determining the properties of these ultradense objects.







  • Mice Stressed In Simulated Weightlessness Show Organ Atrophy
  • NASA Study Will Help Stop Stowaways To Mars
  • Environmental Tectonics' NASTAR Center To Provide Space Training For Virgin Galactic
  • NASA debunks claims of drunken space flights

  • Scientists And Space Enthusiasts Share Vision For Mars
  • Phoenix Takes Flight
  • Surviving Desert Storm
  • Rovers Begin New Observations On Changing Martian Atmosphere

  • JCSAT-11 Satellite Ready For Launch From Baikonur
  • ISRO Plans More Launches, INSAT-4CR In Good Health
  • India launches communications satellite
  • India Lofts GEO Bird Using Powerful New Domestic Built Launcher

  • NASA Scientist Treks To Burning Man Festival
  • European Hot Spots And Fires Identified From Space
  • China Develops Beidou Satellite Monitoring System
  • DigitalGlobe Announces Launch Date For WorldView-1

  • Outbound To The Outerplanets At 7 AU
  • Charon: An Ice Machine In The Ultimate Deep Freeze
  • New Horizons Slips Into Electronic Slumber
  • Nap Before You Sleep For Your Cruise Into The Abyss Of Outer Sol

  • Stellar Firework In A Whirlwind
  • Neutron Stars Warp Space-Time
  • Water Vapor Seen 'Raining Down' On Young Star System
  • Shrinking Giants, Exploding Dwarves

  • Europe That Much Smarter On Luna One Year On
  • Russia plans manned Moon mission by 2025
  • An Exploding Lunar Eclipse
  • SpaceDev To Build Lunar Lander Prototype

  • India To Build Constellation Of Seven Navigation Satellites
  • Lockheed Martin Team Shifts Into Production Effort To Add GPS Demonstration Signal To Modernized Satellite
  • Boeing Bids On Next Generation Global Positioning Satellite System
  • Lockheed Martin Bids On Next Generation Global Positioning Satellite System

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement