Astrophysicists explain the origin of the flash from a dying star
In June 2018, telescopes around the world caught a strong blue flash in the spiral arm of a galaxy 200 million light-years away. the outbreak that Received the name “La vaca” and is cataloged as “AT2018cow”, is a flash event of unknown origin, or FBOT. A team of astronomers led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US has found strong evidence for the origin of this signal.
Based on the frequency of the pulses, the group calculated the X-rays They must have come from an object no more than 1,000 kilometers wide, with a mass of less than 800 soles. By astrophysical standards, this corresponds to a compressed surface, such as a small black hole or a neutron star.
Thus, AT2018 Cow may have been the dying result of a star formed when it collapsed A compact object in the form of a black hole or neutron star. The newborn devoured the surrounding material, swallowing the star inside, a process that unleashed a massive explosion of energy.
“It is possible that we detected the birth of a compact object in a supernova,” says lead author Dheeraj D.J. Basham, a research scientist at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. “This happens in normal supernovae, but We’ve never seen it before Because it is a very complex process. We think this new evidence opens possibilities for finding mini black holes or mini neutron stars,” says Basham.
The AT2018 Cow is one of a few dozen known FBOTs, and one of those few that has been observed in real time. When detected, its powerful flash – up to 100 times brighter than an ordinary supernova – It was seen by observatories around the world.
While trying to identify the X-ray signals emitted near La Vaca, experts saw that AT2018 Cow will emit 225Hz bursts, that is, once every 4.4 milliseconds. Derag used the frequency of this pulse to directly calculate the volume of what was pulsating and determined that the dimensions of the object were about 1,000 kilometers wide.
“The only thing that can be so small is a compact object, Either a neutron star or a black holeBasham says. The team also calculated, based on the energy emitted by the AT2018 Cow, that it should not be more than 800 solar masses, ruling out the idea that the signal came from an intermediate black hole, according to Dirag.
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