With the discovery of a bright, long-lived supernova, scientists believe they have found a spectacular new way for stars to die
By Gregory MonePosted 05.20.2008 at 3:31 pm 4 Comments
Heavy elements in the star's core are ejected in all directions. Not even a black hole is left after the explosion.
Meet pair-instability supernova SN2006GY, the most extraordinary explosion in the cosmos. Unlike its smaller, regular supernova cousins, which blast off the outer layers of a star and pack what remains into a neutron core or a black hole, the pair-instability supernova is a much more violent celestial finale. These events happen only in stars that are at least 150 times as large as our sun and result in total annihilation of the star. Astrophysicists contend that this type of eruption helped seed the cosmos with heavy metals like iron, a process that ultimately allowed planets to form.