Amateur astronomer snaps before and after pics of exploding star

An amateur astronomer called Victor Buso from Argentina was snapping pictures of the cosmos with a new camera and telescope. The subject of his images was a distant galaxy called NGC 613 about 80 million light-years from Earth. The images the astronomer snapped showed something that is very rare and a first for any astronomer.

Buso was able to capture images of the distant galaxy before and after a star exploded. The images show the before and after of the supernova "shock breakout." A shock breakout is the supersonic pressure wave from the exploding core of the star as it hits and heats gas on the surface of the star to a very high temperature.

That rapid heating causes the start to emit light and brighten rapidly. The images Buso snapped mark the first time anyone has ever captured the "first optical light" from a normal supernova. A normal supernova is one that is not associated with a gamma-ray or x-ray burst. Berkley Astronomer Alex Filippenko says that professional astronomers have been trying to take images of an event like this.

Filippenko performed follow up measurements of the same supernova, dubbed Supernova 2016gkg, with the Lick and Keck observatories to provide more detail on the supernova. Buso was testing a new camera on a 16-inch telescope when he snapped the images.

Scientists say that the images Buso captured are from the first hour after light emerged from the exploding star. Since the galaxy is about 80 million light-years from Earth, the event happened long, long ago literally in a galaxy far, far away.

SOURCE: Berkeley