SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Supernova 'Shock Breakout' Seen From Red Giant - A First
from National Geographic News
The ultraviolet flash that signals the explosion of a red supergiant star has been detected by astronomers for the first time.
"We have witnessed the violent death of a massive star in a galaxy almost a billion light-years away in unprecedented detail," said study team member Kevin Schawinski, an astrophysicist at the University of Oxford in the U.K.
The discovery comes just weeks after an independent team reported the first sighting of x-ray light from a star just as it was beginning to explode. Seeing such "first light" from supernovae could help astronomers better understand what's happening inside massive stars in their final moments.
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Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.
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