The Cosmos is a huge place and with each year astronomers are discovering new things which are pushing the boundaries of the cosmos that much further. Astronomers working for the Supernova Legacy Survey (SNLS) have made a startling discovery of two extraordinarily dazzling and bright supernovae. The supernovae is some 10 billion light years away and is hundreds of times more luminous that the brightest known supernovas. The findings have been published in the latest edition of the Astrophysical Journal.
The extreme luminosity of the supernovas have puzzled astronomers who are unable to fathom the cause of the luminosity, The supernova seem to be powered by the collapse of the star to become a black hole or a neutron star but this does not explain its extreme luminosity. The supernovas were discovered in 2006 and 2007. Scientists were not able to understand what they were nor could they measure their distances from the earth.Superluminous Supernovae
Lead author D. Andrew Howell, a staff scientist at Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) and adjunct faculty at UC Santa Barbara explained, “At first, we had no idea what these things were, even whether they were supernovae or whether they were in our galaxy or a distant one. I showed the observations at a conference, and everyone was baffled. Nobody guessed they were distant supernovae because it would have made the energies mind-bogglingly large. We thought it was impossible.”
The newly discovered supernovae were christened as SNLS-06D4eu. The SNLS-06D4eu is the most distant and also one of the most luminous of a spate class of supernova, the luminous supernovae. The latest discovery happens to be one of the supernovae subclass which is devoid of any hydrogen.
According to new studies the supernovae could be formed by the creation of a magnetar. A magnetar is an extraordinary magnetized neutron start which is pinning at an incredible spin at a rate of hundreds of times per second. A magnetar is beleivd to have the mass of a sun which has been condensed to the size of a city. The magnetar has a magnetic field o a strength which is hundred trillion times the magnetic field of the earth.
Since its discovery in 2009 only a handful of such superluminous supernovae have been identified. Models of supernovae have been created by Co-author Daniel Kasen from UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab which explained that these celestial bodies have been formed by explosions of a star rich in carbon and oxygen and about the size of our sun. The star could be larger than what it is today but ejected its outer layers long before remaining with only a small and naked core.
What makes these supernovae unique is its intense rotation and when it died the core spun and became a magnetar . The intense spin could be the cause of the intense magnetic field.