A study published in the Astrophysical Journal on November 19 used the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) to study the dense cloud of dust surrounding Supernova 1987A, located in the Great Magellanic Cloud, about 168,000 light-years from Earth. . Looking through the dense cosmic smog, astronomers were able to find spots of dust that they believed possessed a neutron star.
"For the first time, we can say that inside this remnant there is a neutron star in the supernova remnant." said Phil Gypsy, an astronomer at Cardiff University and the study's first author, in a press release. "Its light is obscured by a very thick cloud of dust blocking the direct light from a neutron star at many wavelengths, like a fog covering a spotlight."
The 66 telescopes constituting the ALMA are located in the Chilean desert. used in collaboration with the Event Horizon telescope team to. The researchers used the array to observe the submillimeter wavelengths of light, which helped pull the dust curtain onto the hidden star.
Supernova 1987A was first spotted in February 1987 and provided one of the best examples of space phenomena for researchers, ultimately revealing a ton of knowledge about the lives of giant stars, what happens when they collapse and what a stellar afterlife looks like.
Astronomers have suggested a number of destinies for the star at the center of the supernova as a result of the hiding heroes of the neutron star. Other researchers posit that further collapse could lead to a black hole or an unusual type of star known as a "quark star" that is full of exotic particles and strange physics.