A group of astronomers observed the star they thought was a neutron star, born after the first supernova was discovered in 1987, in the Milky way satellite galaxy 170000 light-years from earth, known as Sn 1987A.
until now, astronomers have not been sure whether neutron stars will survive an explosion and not just collapse into black holes – but a new paper published last week in the Journal of astrophysics suggests that neutron stars may still exist.
if confirmed, it will be the youngest neutron star known to mankind. The youngest supernova remnant to date is 330 year old Cassiopeia A, about 11000 light-years from earth in the Milky way.
by analyzing the high-resolution images of the large / submillimeter array in Atacama, Chile, a group of astronomers was able to take a closer look at what was left after Sn 1987A.
they found a thermal “spot” inside the supernova’s core, possibly a cloud of gas enveloping the neutron star. The star itself is too small to be detected directly because it is tiny and dense – in a sphere only 15 miles wide, it has a mass of 1.4 times the sun’s.
“something in the nebula must have heated the dust and made it glow. That’s why we found a neutron star hidden in the dust cloud
“despite the extreme complexity of supernova explosions and the extreme conditions inside neutron stars, the detection of warm dust masses is only a confirmation of some predictions,” US astrophysicist Denny page explained in a statement.
according to computer models, neutron stars will travel through space at hundreds of kilometers per second. Based on the model, the Alma team found that it was where it is today.
it takes time until the existence of a star is confirmed. The dust and gas around the supernova need to dissipate further before astronomers can say for sure that the very young star does exist.