In February 1987, the night sky suddenly lit up — in the Large Magellanic cloud, at a distance of 167 644 light years away, a massive star exploded in a supernova. So close to us exploded in one of the supernova. But when all was quiet, the astronomers found at the scene of the explosion of the neutron star.
33 years later, astronomers finally saw this death star hidden in a thick cloud of dust.
There are several types of supernovae, depending on the type of dying star. Those that leave behind a neutron star — a supernova of type II, resulting from stars 8-30 times more massive than the Sun. When fired, they throw the outer layers and neutrinos into space, and their cores become neutron stars.
In the case of supernova 1987 all happened. Old blue star called Sanduleak-69 202, which was about 20 times more massive than the Sun, staged in the sky light show so bright that it was visible to the naked eye.
After the explosion in the middle of astronomers failed to find traces of the newborn neutron star.
A group of researchers headed by Phil Cigana from Cardiff University in the UK announced that they have finally found a hot and bright star among the remnant of the supernova — neutron star was shrouded in a thick cloud of dust.
“We were very surprised to see this warm ball. That is in the cloud should be warming up dust and making it glow,” explained astrophysicist Mikako Matsuura from Cardiff University.
But for neutron stars discovered the body was too bright. As found by astrophysicist Dani Paige from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the glowing ball can indeed be a neutron star. Its brightness corresponds to the thermal radiation of the very young neutron stars. In other words, she is still very hot and did not have time to cool down after a supernova explosion. Scientists call a neutron star NS 1987A.
Its temperature is about 5 million degrees Celsius and is the star not in the center of the explosion away from him with a speed up to 700 kilometers per second. The diameter of the NS 1987A should be about 25 kilometers, and its mass is approximately equal to 1.38 solar masses. All of this is completely normal for a neutron star.